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Help choosing an opera at The Met Opera in NYC

bigbadbuff

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I will be coming up in the next couple of months and want to see my first opera. Based on the following that is playing on Sat nights in the coming months, what would you suggest seeing?

The Magic Flute
Carmen
Rigoletto
La Traviata
Iphigenie en Tauride
Armida
Lucia di Lammermoor
Romeo et Juliette
 

Gus

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I suggest La Traviata. It is Italian ( your first should be Italian
), and contains all the classic elements you want to see in an opera.

I would recommend that whatever opera you select, that you listen to it a few times before attending the performance. I find that I enjoy the nuances of a live performance a lot more when the music is familiar. Having an understanding of the story line also adds to it, for me.

Have fun!
 

MrDaniels

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Carmen is a good choice for a first opera. The story is easy to follow, and the music is very well known.
 

wetnose

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Yes, preview the music on youtube before going. Helps to be familiar. Do not recommend magic flute for first opera because the plot is bizarre. Was Mozart high?
 

adambparker

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Of the operas listed, I would go with Carmen, Rigoletto or La Traviata.

Both Rigoletto and La Traviata are great choices, two of Verdi's best-known works with plenty of recognizable tunes. They are also dramatic and engaging on the stage. Carmen is also quite fun, with several arias you will recognize. I'd probably pass on Armida and Iphigenie, which are a bit more challenging.

Lucia, Romeo and Magic Flute are also not bad options. If you're going to go French, I'd go with Carmen first, since it's a bit more accessible, but Romeo is a perfectly fine option as well. Magic Flute is, as was stated above, a bizarre Masonic fantasy, and if you choose it, definitely be very familiar with the plot beforehand, as it is quite confusing and convoluted. I love Lucia, and as Bel Canto operas go, it is quite accessible, with some wonderful melodies and the show-stopping sextet/mad scene toward the end.

As others have stated, do be sure to listen through at least highlights from the opera before you go. I like to buy a recording and listen through with the libretto a few times to become very familiar before I go, so I can focus on the performance on stage and not always have to be looking back and forth from the supertitles above the stage. That's just my approach.

Above all, have fun. People often take opera too seriously to enjoy the beauty of the music and the dramatic spectacle. Whatever you choose, just make sure that when the curtain rises, you relax and enjoy the show.
 

GQgeek

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Carmen is the most accessible imo. After that, I'd go with La Traviata. Not saying Carmen is better, just more accessible.
 

SField

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Originally Posted by wetnose
Yes, preview the music on youtube before going. Helps to be familiar. Do not recommend magic flute for first opera because the plot is bizarre. Was Mozart high?
Bizarre compared to what? I'm guessing you know very little about opera.
 

acecow

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Just watched Rigoletto at the LA Opera again. I wish I could see it at the Metropolitan Opera. I'd suggest that or Traviata.
 

musicguy

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Great advice everyone.

Though not on the list, Boheme would be my first recommendation for you, since you have never seen an opera. I recommend Magic Flute, Carmen, Rigoletto, or Traviata. Carmen is probably the most accessible, but Traviata is better. Carmen is a bit boring, from my point of view. Rigoletto is great Verdi, and Magic Flute is great Mozart. If you can, see all four! I'd say any of those four will be great.

The most important thing to do, though, is to come prepared. Read a synopsis before you go and know what the story is all about. That way you won't have to pay too much attention to the supertitles and just focus on the music/acting. If you can, it would be a good idea to listen to or watch a video of the opera.
 

max b

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For the first time Carmen should be right. I strongly remember few years ago I had the opportunity to be in the Arena of Verona (Italy) for the Carmen under the artistic direction of Franco Zeffirelli...was a beautiful Summer night under the sky (the Arena is open air). The music, the colours, the "coreografia" and the "costumi"...simply beautiful.
 

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