Operas are a 400-year-old art form, but many of you have probably never visited an opera house, let alone watched a live performance. If that is the case, here are six reasons why you should give operas a try:
1. Opera is for everyone
Ever since operas were staged in the theatres a few hundred years ago, composers from all over the world have spawned productions featuring a wide variety of storylines. There are stories about a paranoid king who instructed his 50 daughters to marry and kill their husbands in order to safeguard his kingdom against invasion (Hipermestra by Francesco Cavalli), a demigod dolefully looking for his dead fiancée’s soul in the inferno (L' Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi), and a prince that fell in love with a charming lady who was under a peace treaty to marry the prince’s father (Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi). No matter you are craving for some blood-stained fighting scenes, prepared for a glimpse of the underworld or hoping to immerse yourself in tear-jerking tragic romance, rest assured that you will find your thing among tens of thousands of opera programmes available today.
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2. Operas seamlessly integrate music and drama
Who doesn’t like concerts and movies? Hong Kong people could go so far as to take a few days off work in order to fly across the globe to watch live performances of their favourite bands, and many couples pay weekly visits to the cinemas. With operas being a combination of singing, orchestral music, dancing and drama, opera houses are where Hong Kong people’s favourite pastimes meet.
3. Operas are an enjoyment for the eyes
Humans have an inherent liking for fancy things – pretty ladies, good-looking men, glimmering outfits, extravagant architecture and many more. Pay your way to an opera house and you can have it all – stunning casts, costumes that seem to come from a medieval nobility’s wardrobe, backdrops and props that make the audience feel like they have travelled a few hundred years backwards − call it an enjoyment for the eyes and soul of humankind.
4. Learning culture and history through operas
Sensational historical events, prevailing cultures and social norms have inspired composers to write some greatest operas of all time, making operas excellent materials for us to learn about history and cultures of the past. Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel, for example, bases its plot on the historical figure of Julius Caesar, an ancient Roman military general who was assassinated by contemporaneous senators for fear that he possessed too much political power in the republic. Our world’s culture and history are imperative to understanding the past and present, and for avoiding the same mistakes in the future. Yet many shun the process of learning history as it often comes in the form of long and dull history classes. To turn things around, operas take away the boring bits of history and leave audiences with the ultimate, enjoyable learning-in-theatre experience.
5. Operas as an affordable pastime
Whilst it would be ridiculously expensive to frequent the pubs in Lan Kwai Fong for late-night drinks, treat golfing as a hobby, or watch concerts in the Hong Kong Coliseum a few times per year, seeing operas would be a fairly affordable pastime to the average Hong-Konger. Tickets to live opera performances come in a wide price range, with the cheapest ones priced at $150 that would probably seat you at the upper circle of the Grand Theatre in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. More Than Musical, on the other hand, offers a much more appealing deal. For just $210, members of ASHK and MTM could savour a free-flow of exquisite drinks, engage in insightful conversations with classically trained theatre singers, and engross in live performances delivered by world-famous performers and artistic directors. Most importantly, More Than Musical guarantees that opera-goers wouldn’t have to watch performances from above the stage in a bird’s eye view − without a stage in the theatre, everyone could stand close to the performers and fully immerse themselves in the ravishing music and drama.
6. Classical music boosts your brain power
If you’re still unmoved by the many artistic appeals of operas, here’s a scientific reason why you should check out the latest opera programmes and sign up for one. Dr. Gordon Shaw, a UC Irvine researcher and physicist, revealed that college students performed better than the average students in a spatial reasoning test after being exposed to 10 minutes of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K. 448). This groundbreaking finding, dubbed the Mozart Effect, supports the proposition that classical music improves spatial reasoning and brain power. In simpler terms, listening to opera music makes you smarter.
Rather than resorting to rock music which hurts your ears and sends a chill through your spine, why not listen to some classical music and immerse in the chorus to recharge yourself? Come back to More Than Musical’s website to check out our latest events!