Reading last week's editors' opinion column about opera, I felt like there was an understandable yet quite sad misunderstanding about the art form. I am certainly not a big opera fan, neither am I trying to convince anyone that opera rocks and that everyone should love it or die.
Yet it seems that most students have a poor conception of opera, and even its advocates are often edgy (the “you don't understand, it's art” kind of people).
It should be told: opera is not, definitely not, about singing trees. In its vast majority, opera focuses on people. It has characters that you can relate to and who love, hate, kill or play stupid pranks, just like in any movie.
The demise of opera would be that characters sing useless, interminable arias. They certainly do not, because what they sing are dialogues, and dialogues shape the plots. Said plot can be fast-paced or slow-paced, but it is certainly more elaborate than many movies of today (Avatar and its three-line screenplay comes to mind). Fortunately, the dialogues are translated and shown on a subtitle screen. Solos are not too numerous, but are meaningful and often have some of the best music.
It is true that opera is often long, and if you cannot watch a two-hour movie in the theatre without checking Facebook, chances are you are going to have a bad time; but even if you cannot hold in place for the whole length of the opera, no one prevents you from just leaving -- if you are not curious about the end of the story, that is. Some very accessible operas include Carmen, The Barber of Seville or Tosca, for example.
Opera is not the easiest, but it not as edgy as we think it is and there is certainly no valid reason for having an audience average age of 60. One could picture it as theatre with good music. If you can find cheap tickets, it is also an unusual way to get out and dress classy.