A lot of people say “Hey Mikey, you know some stuff about music, what’s up with Opera? Is it fun, and also can I borrow $140 dollars to go see one?”
Up until yesterday, my answer would be “please leave me alone, I don’t know you, I’m very poor, and I’ve never been to an Opera, plus they sing in ways that I find frankly annoying.”
I’m proud to say I’ve changed my tune, and a more contemporary response would be “please leave me alone, I don’t know you, I’m very poor, I have only been to one opera, but I’ll tell you everything I know about it (which is all just guessing) if you’ll just go away.”
Hypothetically, this is what I would say to them:
“Dude I only saw The Flying Dutchman, so I can’t really say for sure, but yeah, you should go. No, I don’t have any money to fund your whimsical dream of going to the opera, but it was a cool experience. I learned a lot. Here are some simple steps to maximize enjoyification:
How To Enjoy the Opera
1. Wear Gloves
Because, like with all “classy” concerts, you will be forced to applaud at the conclusion of the performance for approximately 3 lifetimes.
I sped up the audio like 3 times, and it sounds like a rainforest, but you’ll get the idea pretty quick:
Applaud Until It Hurts and Then Keep Applauding
2. Sprekken ze Language
“God” in German is “Gott”. I know this because in the Opera, they really like to talk about God. Other words you might learn include “betrayal”, “grave”, “destiny”, and “Satan”. So…you know.
3. Do Not Expect Pies/Chuckling
Operas are serious. I can count the number of times the protagonist had a pie thrown in his face on zero fingers. You better be ready to think about life, and all the mistakes you’ve made. You’ve probably made a lot.
4. Have a Sixth Grade Reading Level, at Least
Practice speed reading. They’ll have the subtitles up on a small screen, but you’ll have to read them quickly if you want to know what’s happening AND watch the actual humans singing the actual songs. I recommend doing at least 20-30 minutes of light eyeball stretching before the show. Maybe even bring flashcards with your friends that have different, unrelated words and practice reading them quickly with your eyes open as wide as they can. Some words you might try are “Grave” “Thunderous” and “Anchor”, just to get in the mood. The mood for death, I mean.
5. Prepare For Social Regression
Try and set aside your desire for all things to be post-modern, intersectional, and progressive. Embrace ye olde opera, where men are great and women don’t really do anything, just sort of passively cause the downfall of said men.
6. Nap and Use the Bathroom in Advance
Operas are like the stories people tell that are terrible at telling stories. They are slow, they often seem to kind of lose the point of focus or plot, and after a time you will wonder if the story will have an intermission so you can pee, but it won’t, but you won’t really realize that until about 2 hours into the story. But fortunately, by that point, there will be a lot more shouting/singing and possible deaths in the story, so you’ll be engaged enough that you’ll end up satisfied at the tale, all in all, long though it was.
7. Stop Dressing Like a Hobo
Don’t look like a peasant or wear a basketball jersey. This is the opera, and they like you to be wearing a sweater or blazer. I think the sweater maybe helps you hear better? I’m not quite sure.
And if you follow these tips, dude, you’ll be sure to have a great time. I could definitely see how people spend lifetimes going to operas, and often the same ones over and again to see how they change. All in all, as a life experience, I would give seeing an opera an 8.2.”