Inspired by the 30-Day Opera Challenge done by Austin Lyric Opera, the staff at Edmonton Opera have taken on their own 30-day challenge. Each week, we'll post answers from staff about various aspects of opera, whether it's their favourite aria, an opera house they'd like to visit or their opinion on a genre. We welcome your own opinions about the question, either on the blog or via social media.
What's the best opera for a first-time opera-goer?
Ha Neul Kim, company and stage manager: The Barber of Seville. Many people know the tune from Bugs Bunny and it's fun.
Catherine Szabo, communications coordinator: I think it depends what someone in particular likes, determines what a good opera is for them. Any of the 2012/13 operas were good first-time operas, if they had the right appealing elements for someone: Aida was a fairly simple storyline with grand staging, Hoffmann was more complicated but there was so much to constantly look at with all the circus characters, and Onegin was wonderful music and Russian culture. Same thing for next season: Salome has the literary and historical connections, Fledermaus is an operetta with a mix of spoken and sung parts and lots of comedy, and Butterfly has traditional Japanese elements with a heartbreaking, universal story.
On Twitter, we had answers of The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro as good first operas to see. We also had a great discussion on Facebook, with answers including La Bohème, La Traviata, Tosca, The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly and Carmen. The common theme? That these were all familiar operas, with music that was easily recognizable. Another interesting pattern also appeared: often, people's favourite opera was also their first opera.