Thanks to this course, I can now say, “I’ve seen the Opera. ” The Opera was always one of those fancy occasions that I never felt privileged enough to experience. I’ve heard it mentioned in shows, movies, and novels; so there was always a surreal aura about it. Going to the Opera was something that the rich did in their spare time because they were fancy. With this in mind, I want to thank the entire class for sharing this experience with me. Going as a class made the whole experience much less intimidating.
Nonetheless, intimidating would have been an understatement. Before you even get into the Metropolitan, you are welcomed with a grand opening to three different buildings and an amazing fountain. Overwhelmed by that, I was frantic trying to find the class when I first got there because I thought I would end up late. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Upon entering the building, you can see and truly appreciate the details of the chandeliers and the way it accented the velvet red floors. This in itself was breathtaking. Also, I really enjoyed the seats we ended up with because they made me feel fancy.
The performance was nothing I expected it to be. Initially, I didn’t think I would enjoy the Opera because I thought it would be hard to understand. It didn’t appeal to me to hear loud singing in another language for 4 hours. However, all of the different aspects of the Opera truly came together nicely. From the subtitles that were very strategically placed to the famous storyline of Carmen, I felt rather relaxed going into the performance. The way the performers sang was astounding. I was amazed at the lung and brain capacity they had and needed to be able to sing, dance, and act to put the show on. Going to the Opera is something I am so grateful to have been exposed to. I can truly say I enjoyed the performance and plan on attending another.
Having never gone to the opera before, it was definitely an experience I’ll remember hopefully for the rest of my life. The day we spent preparing for it kind of made me sure I was going to fall asleep because I just don’t like what I used to term as the “ahhh singing”. (I still don’t, not really). But while we were watching it, the story of Carmen really gripped me. It wasn’t just people singing for no reason, but there was an intricacy in the songs themselves that added to the depth of the story.
The plot of Carmen made me very ambivalent. I liked some characters and not so much for others. Carmen herself was a little meh. I felt like throughout the whole story, she was too selfish for words to describe. Of course, she did warn Don Jose and he did spoil her by giving into whatever she wanted, but it was still annoying to watch her make unreasonable demands of which she was the main focus even when it wasn’t her decision to make. For example, when Don Jose wanted to go back to work after getting out of jail, thereby showing that he wanted to somehow reform his life, she demanded that he become a robber to fit in with her life. I was mind-boggled when he gave in because she ruined his life!
Let’s not forget how the amazing Michaela performed in the opera. That was a bone-chilling, hair-rising aria! It was definitely very powerful and heartfelt, and it gave her more of a purpose that she previously didn’t have.
The best part of the opera, for me, was the conductor and orchestra. I’m usually not a music person, but without the conductor and orchestra, the play would not have been as exciting. When the music became loud and fast, the audience knew this was a tense scene. When it was serene and slow, the audience knew it was a calm scene. The conductor himself would get into the music and half the time I would be compelled by his movements. It was a truly beautiful thing to see him bring all forms of instruments together and create masterpieces. I guess that’s credit to Bizet, who composed all the music for the play hundred of years ago, though.
All in all, the opera was a new experience that is not easy to forget. What I thought would be a snooze-fest kept me awake and interested the whole time. Three hours seemed like a lot but by the end it didn’t even seem like that much time had passed. The story of Carmen was definitely a worthwhile watch in The Metropolitan Opera.
My first experience at the opera to watch Carmen was very different from what I expected. I thought I would be falling asleep by the second act, but instead, I found myself fascinated by this new experience and ended up enjoying it.
First of all, the set was gorgeous. I was surprised by how large and realistic it was. The two walls formed a circular arena that conveniently turned to reveal different settings. It acted as the barracks for the soldiers, cigarette factory, the mountain hideout, and more. What also caught my eye were the costumes. While some were plain like the Gypsies’ factory dresses and some were elaborate like the toreadors’ outfits, their costumes clearly represented each of their roles.
Next, I loved the musical pieces. I observed the conductor as he guided the orchestra to produce the sound we all heard. I think it’s interesting how he is able to unify all the instruments to work together cueing in different instruments at different times while also communicating the dynamics, beat and tempo. Every scene was paired with a piece that sets the mood preparing the audience for a gloomy or lively event. And because of the preparation before the opera, I listened for the musical themes played for each character. I loved the cast was able to show their passion and emotions through their voices and actions. Although we learned beforehand that opera singers are trained to project their voices well, I was still surprised by how loud they were able to be. It was amazing how their voices could be so rich and strong.
In addition to music, I also noticed the use of the lighting that helped set the setting and the mood. During the scene when Don Jose meets Escamillo at the mountain hideout, it was slightly dark with blue lighting, giving off a cold and gloomy vibe. But during the entrance of the toreadors outside the bullring, the lighting was bright and celebratory.
I am glad we prepared for it beforehand, so I would know what I was watching and what I should watch for. I really enjoyed my first experience watching an opera and I am definitely interested in going back in the future for more!