Ben Wooldridge ( @benwooldridge ), Press & PR Assistant, writes…
There are many advantages to youth; good looks, athleticism (i.e being able to climb a staircase without loosing your breath) and opportunity – and here at Birmingham Hippodrome we offer a great opportunity to our younger patrons. Those who are lucky to be between the ages of 16 and 21 can take advantage of £5 tickets to a wide variety of productions as part of our First Night scheme. Marcus Hubbard and Alex Woolliscroft have been ambassadors of the scheme since June last year, writing some great blogs on productions they have seen and their entire experience with First Night.
However, one of the things that they had never experienced before here at the Hippodrome is Opera…why I hear you ask? Well, in their own words opera can be seen by young (and older!) people as “sitting in a theatre for hours on end watching a woman and a man scream at each other” in a gobbledygook language. It can also be seen as an upper class night out with “everyone turning up in tuxedos’ and ball gowns”, however, I was set the task of changing their mind – taking both Alex and Marcus along to the opening night of Welsh National Opera’s La traviata.
Now, I have to admit that I’m no opera buff myself and my experience was very much similar to our bloggers in educating myself in the world of opera and its conventions, but what we all came out agreeing is that it really is a fantastic night out – and especially so for our First Nighter’s who can get their hands on tickets for most opera at the Hipp for a fiver! (that’s cheaper than the cinema!) However, what we did put together is a kind of ‘First Timers Guide’ to your first opera experience…so here it goes:
- Pick an Opera that is easily accessible, i.e relatively short in length – two and a half hours will do fine (not your 6 hour Wagner’s)
- Do a bit of research before your visit, give it a google and have a quick read of the synopsis (they really aren’t too hard to follow and usually you can guarantee someone will die)
- Don’t worry about a dress code – go in your jeans or if you fancy dressing up dig out your tiara, either goes down fine!
- There are surtitles at the top of the stage if you get lost, so no need to worry about it being in a different language. Plus, if you really don’t fancy watching someone sing in a foreign tongue there are plenty of opera’s sung in English too (such as The Cunning Little Vixen next season)
- Bring your mates and have a good night out!
Going to the Opera really isn’t as scary as some people may think, and with tickets for a fiver for First Night members it’s an experience that you really can’t afford to miss. You can find out more on how to join First Night and what tickets are available under the scheme HERE. You can also read Marcus and Alex’s full reviews on their blogs – CLICK HERE for Alex’s verdict and HERE for Marcus’s opinion.
We will soon be looking for new bloggers to join the First Night experience, if you are between 16 and 21 and fancy coming along to Press Night’s whilst writing reports for us on the shows you see please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest!
Happy Opera going!