I never used to like Opera. I found it loud, difficult to listen too and screechy. That was until I heard it live. A coupe of summers ago I worked for Opera Holland Park as something else to do in the evenings and meet some new people in London.
After a few performances I realised you can’t fully appreciate opera unless you watch it live! Having seen more performances of Don Giovanni than I care to admit, and have experienced a wide range of operatic styles I can safely say the opera I visited this year was a unique mix of performance, performers, setting and style.
This year I was invited along to Waterperry Opera Festival at Waterperry Manor Gardens a stones throw from Oxford city centre and a 50 minute drive from West London.
Being invited to see Don Giovanni at Waterperry was a fantastic opportunity and something Jon and I had been looking forward too all week.
When we arrived we were greeted by the loveliest hosts, given our tickets and we picked up a show programme so we could read all about the singers and performance. The show itself was set in what I can only describe as a Roman stage set in the ground with a balcony for the musicians to perform above.
My next surprise came when the show started, I didn’t expect was the opera to be set in 2018! I love surprises and waiting to see what will play out and this was quite a treat.
The show had also been translated into English which made it easy to understand and follow, something Mozart would have probably loved. Alongside this it was performed by a group of young / recently graduated singers who I thought did such a great job at keeping us entertained and bringing humour to an otherwise dark story.
Waterperry Opera festival was different to Opera Holland Park which meant it was difficult to compare to other open-air operas.
The other refreshing thing about this Opera was the crew and cast were recent graduates and it was set in the round (as I mentioned before). For me this was fresh and showed me that opera isn’t just for people of a certain age and most certainly shows it isn’t a dying art.
If I could do one thing, it would be to encourage more people in their 20’s/30’s to visit the opera! Go to museums and enjoy culture. Get off your phones and laptops and spend a few hours enjoying something real.
Overall listening to Opera at home doesn’t give you right experiences and it completely kills the atmosphere. So if keep like me, you think you hate it, watch it live and it might just change your mind!