Welsh National Opera Press Assistant, Sarah Harrington writes about her first live Opera experience…
Despite being an avid fan of the arts, my love had never quite branched into the opera sphere. I am not entirely sure why. I did naturally have preconceptions of what an opera production would be like. I generally assumed it would be incomprehensible and prestigious. I was also of the impression that an opera production would be void of narrative.
After starting my role as a press assistant with Welsh National Opera, I was actually pleased to discover I had the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal of the new production, namely, The Fall of the House of Usher. I am always seeking opportunities to challenge any preconceptions I may have, as even I know my mind is capable of subconscious prejudice. I am pleased to say that I quickly came to reincarnate my preconceptions into misconceptions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the double bill of The Fall of the House of Usher. The opening scene instantly enticed me into the world of opera in a rather sinister manner. I found the narrative intriguing and fascinating and I was totally absorbed by the visuals. Reading the subtitles from the screen above proved to be really easy and was a surprisingly natural process. It failed to distract me from the pull of the music and the three-dimensional display that spectacularly invaded my periphery.
I could write all day about the music itself. It was entirely all encompassing and gripping. It allows for absolutely no distractions and almost consumed every fabric of my being. It was a wonderful two hours (give or take), in which no anxieties or worries were able to seep into my mind. It was during this opera experience in which I finally understood why it is that people come to see such productions. The escapism it allows for is utterly therapeutic and tantalizing to all the senses. Its dramatic intensity outweighed that of any other theatrical performance I’d ever witnessed.
After having been enlightened by a new art form I am truly looking forward to converting friends and family to the world of opera. I am also already mentally planning my next opera show. Will it be Nabucco or Moses and Aron? Can anyone recommend any other great operas, tailored to a newcomer such as myself?
Theatregoers aged between 16-23 can enjoy some of WNO’s spectacular performance for just £5 as part of our First Night scheme, for more info click here.