50 First Dates

Anne Midgette has a great thing going at her place about first operas. Which is best for an uninitiate and what was your first?

As to what’s best, it depends on the person. The discussion of first opera experiences in an interesting one because as Anne has noted, it seems to be split into two camps: those fell hard at the first hearing and those whose seduction was more of a slow burn.

Miss Mussel’s was definitely a slow burn. The following list may shed some light on why although a combination of growing older and determination to figure out what all the fuss was about were certainly factors. If Miss Mussel had different employment and a different education, she likely wouldn’t have persevered to date number 18.

The Flying Dutchman
(Canadian Opera Company – they shot the soprano. The only reason Miss Mussel went was because Frere Mussel promised she would jump off a cliff.)
Oedipus Rex (Canadian Opera Company – cheap ticket through uni – pile of writhing naked people)

Don Giovanni
(on DVD – studied for uni)(love it)
Der Freischutz (on DVD – also for uni)(very lovely horn parts)

Magic Flute (uni production)
Street Scene (uni production)
The Fairy Queen (uni production – played natural horn – 15 mins out of 3 hours)

Lohengrin (Paris Opera – 160€ seat for 40€ – went because ballet was not on)

Suor Angelica (college production)
A Rake’s Progress (college production – went to see friends)
Pélleas et Mélisande (college production – friend conducting)

La Boheme (Met simulcast – amazing sets and eating popcorn was allowed)
La Fille du Regiment (Met simulcast – fantastic acting plus 10 minute drive vs 90 minutes)

Opera To Go (Tapestry New Opera)
Rusalka (Canadian Opera Company – friend had spare ticket – terrible sets, ok singing, brilliant orchestration)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Opera Company – excellent production – very funny)
The Shadow (Tapestry New Opera)

Rusalka (Glyndebourne – despite extreme jetlag, Miss Mussel finally fell in love)
Falstaff (Glyndebourne – Mistress Quickly was very amusing)
Prima Donna (Manchester Festival – went for work)
Twitterdammerung (went for work – rather liked it)

Le Danse Macabre
(ENO – went for social reasons and also a bit curious)

The Nightingale & Other Fables (COC – went for work – absolutely brilliant)
Carmen – (COC – went for work)
Maria Stuarda – (COC – went for work)
Idomeneo – (COC – went for work)

[updated May 2010]

24 more to go! What next?

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