Why I hated the opera!

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About the Opera

So I decided to conduct a social experiment. Well, I didn’t set out to do so, but such was the end result. Tonight I attended the Metropolitan Opera, and I have come to the conclusion that this is absolutely not my scene. Upon arriving, I started questioning whether this was a place where I belonged. Once seated, and the show began, I knew within the first 5 minutes that I would never again come back to an opera. It’s just no, no. So let me tell you why I hated the opera!

Early on in the story, you think that you have developed an understanding as to what the theme is. In the case of Hoffman, it appeared that he was trying to win the love of a woman, but then they completely shift into something completely differently.

This particular opera was about Hoffman, a poet, and his love sick life. Watching this show, well, actually reading the subtitles is depressing as heck. This dude is a total crybaby, just a complete and utter mess. Seriously, what a manchild this guy was. Whining, drinking, and writing about these three or so women he loves, one of which wasn’t even human! I mean, bro, who the hell can’t tell that they kicking it to a damn robot? Look, we’ve all been love sick, but you are just pathetic. What a whiny little putz!

The singing here was clearly amazing. The fact that I did not enjoy the opera takes nothing away from the mind blowing talent that these people possess. The power in their voices cannot be denied, it is absolutely amazing. The costumes are really cool too, very beautiful. I can appreciate all those aspects of the opera, but that’s about it, I just didn’t enjoy this. It’s not for me, and that’s fine. If you are a fan of the opera, I believe you would enjoy this one.

Reasons I didn’t like this

There are several reasons why I wasn’t feeling this show, and the opera in general.

1. I don’t speak the language of this particular opera, so it is all subtitled. The subtitles are viewed in a tiny display on the panel in front of you, so you have to look up and down to keep up. It’s manageable, but rather annoying if you want to watch the actual artists.

2. I’m not particularly a fan of musicals in general, and from my perspective, the opera is a just another musical with high pitched, powerful, foreign singing.

3. The opera as a whole is weird as heck. The story line was all over the place, the actors were all over the place, the outfits though beautiful were also all over the place, everything was just weird as heck to me. Hey, perhaps I have not evolved as an artist to the level where I can appreciate this kind of stuff? Maybe I’m just weird, who knows? Yeah, at times I actually began to laugh quietly because what I was watching was just so damn weird.

4. For something that I totally didn’t enjoy, it is super expensive. We paid $80 to sit way in the back, thankfully I remembered to bring my glasses this time! Not that they kept me from nodding off, but you know…

5. Apparently I’m not built for this “high society.” Most of the people there were old rich people, or those full of caca holier than thou artist types. Either way, I did not feel at ease around this bunch. The air was one of snobbishness and pretentiousness, and I didn’t like it at all.

Opera Etiquette

Here are a few things that I was not aware of. Standing up during the show, is a complete no no. Under no circumstances are you to stand, lest you wish to bring down upon yourself the unforgiving wrath of an old stuck up rich person with his freaking binoculars.

True Story, I wanted to take a piss, so I got up. I figured that I would allow the intermission rush to pass, and then go pee when the people were seated again. Well, that turned out to be a mistake in my logic. An old, miserable looking man took down his binoculars, and he glared hard at me as I walked up the aisle. This freaking guy would not stop staring at me, you’d think I kicked one of freaking his cats based on the way he was eyebanging me!

Naturally, I started to get pissed off at this guy for the continued visual aggression, so I stopped walking, put out my hands and nodded at him, as if to say “What? What the hell do you want?” That’s when he got scared and looked away. I’m not really proud of myself for doing that, but this guy required a reality check. I’m sure I gave him a great story to tell his rich friends about the uncivilized beast from the opera, but seriously man, what the hell do you want from me? I apologized profusely as I made my way pass the people, and I didn’t know the rules of this fancy freaking place. So cut me some slack and piss off!

Which brings me to the other part, these guys will not allow you to re-enter if you exit. I stepped out, and this woman came rushing after me, “HEY YOU! What are you doing? You know you can’t go back in there right? You do know that right? Right?” I looked at her as if to say WTF? I said “No, I did not know that.” Shocked at my lack of “opera etiquette” she repeated, “It’s not allowed, sir! I’ll let you in this once, go in now while they are clapping or wait until the end.” So thanks to Bionic Opera Woman, I didn’t get to pee, she intercepted me right away as I exited.

Cultural differences and a third party opinion

I wore a nice shirt and pants! Accept me! LOL.
I wore a nice shirt and pants! Accept me! LOL.

I attended this event with a former colleague who works on the trading floor. She concurs with me, she appreciated the art, but she would not return to this place. This was her first opera, and she told me that she didn’t feel comfortable at all with the “type” of people there. I thought that was interesting, seeing as though she works on a trading floor that is full of wealthy people. I guess we both concur on this feeling of non-belonging at this place.

I’m sure she makes more money than I did, considering that she is closer to the front office than I was. Yet, even with that, she still felt exactly as I did. This says to me, that it’s not necessarily a money thing, it’s just the type of people that we are.

If I were to strike it rich tomorrow, or even if I got famous and blew up as an artist, I’d never carry myself like these people. These are the people that come from money, they have this certain air about them, an attitude that I simply don’t mesh with. Surprisingly, neither did she. I thought that since she was closer to big money, that she’d be more comfortable around these type of people. I was wrong.

It seems that who we are, where we come from, it just makes us very different. I’m from the South Bronx, and she’s from Sau Paulo. We simply did not blend in with these people, at all. That’s totally fine with me, I don’t like their world, I don’t care for the fur coats, the overdone makeup, and those freaking, stupid binoculars. You can keep all that crap, even if I become rich, I’d never live that way.

In closing

Anyway, the opera is not for me. I can appreciate the art, the singing is amazing, and the overall beauty of the show cannot be denied. However, this ain’t for me. I’ve been considering attending a ballet, but I have a strong feeling it will be the same end result as the opera. I’ll probably do it anyway, just to experience it, but yeah, I think it will be the same end result.

So who wants to go to a cage match?



Note the date on a post as it may be an old point of view. If you learn that your views are wrong, yet they remain the same, then you are a fool.

The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.

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  • mb

    Not that you’re going to ever go again, but if you went a few times the intimidation factor would quickly wear off. People have it in their minds that the Met is a super-rich snobbish person thing so when they go, they are quick to notice what backs up their pre-conceived notions.

    It’s like somebody going to an MMA gym for the first time and feeling out-of-place and overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. There’s probably a ton of MMA fighters who laugh now at how nervous they felt when they first entered – and realize they had no reason to feel that way. And like your typical gym, the Met has some jerks but also a lot more people who are glad to see people share what they’re passionate about.

    Also like a gym, there are certain protocols that a first-timer might not know about. Talking during a show, using a cell phone – these are things that will cause one of the little old ladies to rip your head off at the Met. A gym has its reasons for its protocols, so does the Met.

    This production of Hoffmann has some funny stuff (like the dolls all piling up on each other). Some of it is meant to be absurd. You could have laughed louder – it’s a shame more people don’t. Performers love it when they have an engaged audience instead of a comatose one. Your take on Hoffmann (“total freaking pansy, just a complete and utter mess”) is spot on.

    Not everyone at the Met comes from money either. A lot don’t. Fans of opera cut across socio-economic lines. At the top of the house, where the $25-35 seats are you’ll find a different crowd than where the $250-300 seats are. Bookstore clerks, schoolteachers, translators, MTA workers. Often people who don’t have a lot of money but love opera. The acoustics are actually better in the cheap seats – though far away from the stage.

    It’s not your thing, I understand. At least you gave it a shot, which is cool.

    • Wow, your analogies really shed some light on my experience. Touche! Thank you for that thoughtful response. I know I wasn’t very nice in my post, I was kind of frustrated when I left, but when I look at it in the terms you put it, my feelings about this make a lot more sense.

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