Best opera experience

A little more high brow than normal.

Guests of friends who are patrons at the New York Met for Mozart (Don Giovanni). This was perhaps heightened as it was only my fourth time to the opera (being a tight git).
Young Beagle trying to impress girly before the current Mrs. Beagle. Anyway, girly is rather educated and takes in the Arts. "Want to go to Gilbert & Sullivans The Mikado, Dame Joan Sutherland is singing." Methinks - all I want to do is ****, but in the interests of maybe of putting up with this shit I'll get a **** out of it. "Yeah, why not." say I.

Fast forward to some part of The Mikado and the scaffolding holding up shit falls down and 'collects' some screaching female - not Dame Joan. I'm stupid enough to think - gee, not too bad this opera stuff, they have stuff fall down. I actually thought it was part of the opera. Next there's a bit of screaming and then the curtain closes. All agitation from the stalls.

Next from the curtains Dame Joan steps out and says the classic - "is there a doctor in the house." ******* well played ma'am says me. Next whilst there is all 'stuff' going on, Dame Joan then asks for any requests and the rest is all Blah, blah, blah.

I think I managed to **** said girly in my panel van that night, so all was not a total waste.
I thought it was going to be a question on apple browsing..... I think its much better looking through windows based systems but still cant decide on cox or grannies
Madame Butterfly-Welsh National Opera(one of the best) at Bristol Hippodrome.
Outstanding performance by the WNO as always.
There is a very nice (and famous) Opry house in Saigon. I have been trying to get to experience it for some time but would prefer to go when there is a bit of decent stuff on offer rather than the début performance of Hung Ong Wah playing Bruchs 276th Horn Rhapsody on an original theme by Harry Strutters.

Or the alternative, some bloody Ffrench play set in 1920's Paris.
1971. My old man was posted to Warsaw and to try and keep young ND edumacated and to learn social skills in the western embassy circles took me to the Warsaw State Opera and we saw Puccini's "Tosca". It's all murder, rape and stuff which, naturally, appeealed to an 11 year old. Many may have heard the apocryphal story of how Tosca leaps from the ramparts to top herself and comes back. In this case she came back to life by bouncing up on an oversprung mattress. Fabulous stuff.


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Metropolitan Opera House - New York - Marriage of Figaro [coerced by Mrs df who is a cultured sort of girl]: the wrong one (no Figaro here, Figaro there), so best bit was walking out after 4 hours of incomprehensible singing (about handbags?). Not an opera buff before, definitely not one now.
Carmen at the Coliseum performed by the ENO - sat in the front row - wonderful stuff


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Took a bunch of wannabees to see Faust in the Grand Opera House. Surtitles, foreign singing the works.

'Take notes. I want a review first thing in the morning. And back to the bar, only stool at the bar, sat down. 'Guinness, keep it coming'
'But the opera?'
'Already read the book'
Wannabees really hacked off at half time to see me having a good time, they pleaded that this really was cruel and unusual. So we went off for a pint.

Other one was at Botanic Park, big screen. Band of the Royal Marines were doing the warm up. Settled down got a glass and looked, there was a line of people dressed in white at the front of the stage.
'Either that soundman needs a kicking or the choir's really shite'.
'It's silent protest for those who've been murdered by crown forces, organised by Sinn Fein' came a snotty voice behind me.
'Well, while they are here they could at least hum, or a bit of riverdance maybe'
Chiselling bastards looking to get into a free gig for nothing.
Madame Butterfly-Welsh National Opera(one of the best) at Bristol Hippodrome.
Outstanding performance by the WNO as always.
I saw them do this in the music hall in Shrewsbury some years ago with a much reduced cast and a small orchestra - stunning.

I like a lot of opera but you can't beat Puccini for the big romantic duets.

Many years ago, probably my first opera visit, La Boheme at Covent Garden.

Singing Mimi was an Italian diva that I had never heard of.

Programme has a little slip inserted announcing that because the said diva was indisposed, the role would be sung by one Kiri Te Kanawa.

Now even I knew that Kiri Te Kanawa, who was world famous even then, didn't do understudy!

But as I found out some time afterward, if you get to that level in the game, it wasn't unusual for world-class opera singers to step in (indeed often fly in) at short notice to cover for their peers- providing, naturally, they had no conflicting engagements. After all, they wouldn't need much in the way of rehearsals.

It was a nice and unexpected bonus.
Not opry, but similar. I went to S Korea with my business partner as a guest of the Sung Do corporation to talk to the government there about demining part of the border with N Korea. Being fully cognisant of Korean habits vis a vis guests, I let it be known that a night out in a Karaoke bar (brothel) was not high on my agenda, especially since I had just arrived in Seoul after a flight from London via Bangkok.

Karaoke nights in Seoul can be fun but not after 24 hours of intercontinental travel. They tend to consist of red faced Korean men encouraging you to drink copious amounts of foul tasting local liquor.

The more inebriated they get the louder they get and they shriek and howl into microphones whilst fondling over made-up girls who smell of cheap perfume and semen. Naturally they have selected a suitable girl for you too.

They smoke incessantly, harsh smelling cigarettes and sometimes cigars and all in a room about the size of a council house bedroom.

My partner suggested that we might take in something a little more .... cerebral.

And so it was that we had the best seats in the oldest and most famous playhouse in Seoul.

I have no idea what the hell the play was about. There were about 20 players more or less evenly split between male and female in traditional costume and heavily made up. The wimmin with white faces, like Japanese Geisha. The men wearing wispy beards, tall hats and looking faintly Mephistophelian.

At one stage the men were flicking long paper streamers from their hats out over the audience, whilst the wimmin knelt making sad noises.

There were discordant noises from drums, bells, cymbals and triangles, off stage and occasionally some old bloke would wander about playing what looked like a tin mug attached to a twitching stick with two strings, by means of a bow that looked like a bit of rickshaw suspension.

The effect was colourful, incomprehensible and cacophonous.

Despite the racket, I fell asleep. Only to be woken by my partner who gave me a dig in the ribs and told me I was "missing the best bit".

And it went on for four dreadfully painful hours.

Worse was to come. At the end of it we had to go and meet the cast back stage.

Then there was dinner. Another ritualised 3 hours of eating, speeches and alcohol abuse.
Only been once, but it was the first night of the season at the Roman amphitheatre in Verona - doesn't get much better on a warm evening. The show was Turandot, which I find pretty undistinguished apart from the football music, but the curtain calls were fabulous - maestro in a white tailcoat leading the stars from side to side of the stage as the flowers piled up.
I was offered the choice of going to see Russia's leading Opera company in their own theatre in Moscow, or staying in with a bottle of Armenian cognac and Russki MTV. My local contact considered me uncultured, but Armenian cognac is seriously good shit. I can't stand opera

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I don't know if anyone else did this - it was mainly officers, BFBS Cyprus used to do a classical music afternoon on certain Sundays of the year at in the Roman amphitheatre at Salamis, Cyprus. It was bloody good. Baskets full of chicken and salad to feed on and buckets full of white wine. I was a Lcpl at the time but my uncle was a RM full Col, so I used to go with him and his wife and get pissed and oggle the older officers daughters and the younger officers wives.
Pete F*****r getting his fat thigh caught in a cracked white garden chair...

I've never known a male to reach those sort of operatic tones..
Another one for The Marriage of Figaro. I saw Diana Damrau as Susanna and someone whose name escapes me as the Countess singing one of the finest renditions of Sull'aria I've ever hear. The voices were fantastic and the tempo slightly slower than normal, which meant they notes lingered for just that bit longer.

She was damned good as The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute​, too.
Yet another for The Marriage of Figaro, I have not seen it in the flesh, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet have seen Bryn Terfel singing possibly the best rendition of Non piu Andrai, which is incidentally the Regimental Slow March of the Coldstream Guards. It's such a shame he's retired it from his repertoire- a truly brilliant singer.

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