If you are an opera lover, one way or another you often end up being an opera ambassador.
If the subject of opera comes up in “non-opera” company, I beg you to first get these points across:
- Many people feel they will not understand what’s going on. They
literally think you go in and people sing in a foreign language and if you don’t
know that language you will have no clue. So always be sure to tell them “they
- People aren’t sure they “will like” opera so they hesitate to spend a lot of money to see alive opera right at the start. Let them know they can see opera at the movie theater for usually less money and in more casual clothes and also (in many places) on their local PBS Station.
- A lot of times opera comes up out of context, in a TV commercial, a performance on a TV show like The Voice, or related to a concert by Andrea Bocelli or Katherine Jenkins. You will hear people say “Oh, I loooove opera” and their experience is only these out of context moments. Often, I hear more experienced opera people look down on people who think they love opera without really having experienced it. But, these people are ripe for learning more and becoming true opera fans- we need to nurture them! Most importantly, you can let them know that this moment they “love” is part of a larger story. Without context it’s only a sound. Having more back ground you can tell them what is really happening in that moment.
- Queen of the Night – Now this famous piece of vocal pyrotechnics will show up all over the place but without knowing more, she could simply be carrying on about anything. She loves someone, she’s jealous, she ran out of Parmesan. I don’t think you’d really guess out of the blue that she’s inciting her daughter to murder someone! If you share this info, they might be shocked and also get inspired to find out more...
- Nessun Dorma- SO Popular but do any of those opera tourists know what the story is? What is going on? Do they know it weaves through Turandot and builds to a great big sound explosion? So much to tell here. You see this song being used in conjunction with soccer matches. I think it was probably a random choice but in reality it almost makes sense, the “princess” being a goal or wining a game “Vincero” indeed.
- Carmen- I mean: what isn’t the music of Carmen used for? Movies, product commercials, restaurant promotions, etc. So familiar, but I never knew a stitch of the story until I sat down to research it for the Carmen Opera Bracelet. Sharing Carmen’s magic with those who may only know a snippit could be transformational.
And finally many people have told me they have opened opera conversations by wearing Opera Bracelets or Opera Earrings. The eclectic mix of charms and beads peaks people’s curiosity and leads to some explanation of the plot. Example: Madama Butterfly Bracelet- a US Flag charm, a bird, a fan, a wedding ring. "What is going on here with this charm bracelet you’re wearing?” This opens a great chance to tell about the story of Madama Butterfly and why you love it. “Hey did you know they used the famous aria in Fatal Attraction?", and a discussion of the strange parallels.
All my opera earrings area bit mis-matched in order to “tell more of the story” just by being mis-matched they may make people curious, giving you a chance to talk about opera!
Seize those chances to be an opera ambassador- they can
change someones life!