opera houses

Feb 18th, 2005, 02:14 AM
  #1  
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opera houses

Hi,

I've been wanting to see an opera in a real old opera house for a while.

I'm thinking of Berlin, Vienna, Paris or Milan (tickets pending of course). Are there any other ones which are great?

I'd like to go to one that has translation available. I've heard that the State Opera in Vienna does though I'm not sure if it covers all price range.

Has anyone been to any of these or any other opera houses in europe that can be highly recommended?

Thanks heaps.
nanda_zrh is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 05:04 AM
  #2  
 
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Well, you won t be in a real old opera house in Paris, obviously.

If you just want a decent production in a nice opera house, yuo can go just about anywhere: Even Bratislava, Slovakia (57 minutes from Vienna by train) has a full winter season.

Or try Prague, one of Europe s most musical cities -- you can sit in the hall where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni.

Or Budapest. Or Florence...
tedgale is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 05:30 AM
  #3  
 
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Actually, in Paris the Opera Garnier has performances of some operas. It is a spectacular theatre as is La Scala in Milan and La Fenice in Venice. Interestingly, all 3 have recently been extensively renovated which makes them more likely to have translation available.
mamc is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Check out the San Carlo in Naples. They have a website which should tell you if translation is available. The interior of the Rome Opera is traditional stunning. The exterior is Mussolini "train station style." I have not been inside the Palermo opera house since its reopening, but it is said to be quite lovely. Even if you cannot find a house with simultaneous translation, in the major houses, your program should have an English synopsis. Don't neglect the smaller jewelbox gems....Parma, Busseto, etc.
eliztrav is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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Hi, Nanda_zrh

Vienna has three opera houses, all of which are very nice. I saw the Lohengrin at the Staatsoper, the state opera House. It was fabulous. As I recall, prices were available at many pirce levels and I booked tickets online.

Prague would be another choice for lovely old Opera houses. I saw
La Boheme, a classic that's been there for years. Prague is so lovely and charming and very affordable.

Budapest was fun as well.

And, of course, Italy, the birthplace of Opera...lots of choice there.

Go to operabase.com and do a search to find the opera houses, your favorite performers and schedules for the above.

Good luck and do post a trip report with your experiences.
pleinaire_artist is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #6  
 
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Goodmornng, nanda zrh
Two most memorable opera houses were
the Staatsoper in Wien and La Fenice in Venezia (before the fire)...LaBoheme in Wein, Madame Butterfly and Daughter of the Regiment at La Fenice. Did see Faustus and
M. Butterfly at the Rome opera but the
house did not compare to the grandness
of the other two.... Richard of LaGrange Park, Il.
dickv2 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2005, 08:34 AM
  #7  
 
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The Semper Opera house in Dresden is one of the greatest and most famous. Although severely damaged in WWII it was restored perfectly in Neo-Renaissance style.

www.semperoper.de

No translations, though.

Have seen there e.g. La Boheme, Die Walküre (The Valkyrie?), The Flying Dutchman, the ballet The Nutcracker and many more. Was never disappointed.
Ingo is online now  
Feb 18th, 2005, 10:58 AM
  #8  
 
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They do have opera fairly frequently at the Garnier in Paris, but they are the smaller scale productions. It's a beautiful building, however. I don't know about surtitles.

I really would recommend PRague, they have three wonderful opera houses -- the National Theatre, the Estates, and the State Opera. They are all excellent with good productions, they really like opera in Prague. One other reason I would recommend Prague is that you will pay a small fraction in comparison to those other cities.

I don't think they had surtitles when I saw Rusalka in Prague. I know very little Czech, although I know that opera as the music is one of my favorites. I honestly don't recall because I mainly go for the music, and I know the general story and synopsis, anyway, so don't care about word-by-word translations of the lyrics. In fact, when I recently saw Bartered Bride by the Kirov (yech to that opera), they had surtitles and I almost found them distracting even though I don't know Russian. I tended to read them rather than concentrating on the performance. For me, the whole point of such productions are really the music and the visuals, not word-by-word translations of each song.

To be honest, I never understand a lot of the words being sung in opera or art songs, even when in English.
Christina is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 04:16 AM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone. Wonderful replies.

At the moment, Budapest is on the cards. BEing australian, I need a Visa to go into Czech Rep so that takes too much organising for a weekend trip (have to take time off work to drop passprt and pick up at czech embassy a 2 hr journey away).

Never been to Budapest so that sounds great.

But I'll keep checking here as I'm sure we'll want to do more opera trips around europe.

nanda_zrh is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 04:45 AM
  #10  
 
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Why do you want translation?

Operas are usually sung in the original language, which is most often German or Italian. Many opera houses then offer surtitles - the only form of simultaneous translation. I'm aware of. But the surtitles are aimed at the audience, so they're in the local language. I've never seen surtitles into a third language (though others may have found exceptions).

So you'll find, for example in Budapest an opera sung in a language - say Italian - you've reasonable knowledge of, but the surtitles are in a language you've no idea about.

There are only three ways to deal with this for an English speaker. Familiarise yourself with the plot beforehand (as a rule of thumb, all opera plots are nonsense anyway). Or give up on the meaning, and just listen to the music (my preference). Or do your operas only in Britain. The Royal Opera meets your needs perfectly: the Coliseum performs only in English translations, though it's more like a huge Victorian theatre than a typical opera house.

Third and a halfth: go to summer opera in England's posh houses, like Glyndebourne, Garsington, Longborough or best of all Bampton, which all either have surtitles or perform in English
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 04:48 AM
  #11  
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Hi flanneruk,

I've never had simultaneous translation for an opera before. Am interested in trying it out. I know the Wien opera house does supply translation in languages other than german.

I'm inclined to agree that I will find it distracting to have the translations and I will familiarise myself with the plot beforehand. But it just seems like something to try out.

nanda_zrh is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 08:08 AM
  #12  
 
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I heard that at least one opera house with seat-back surtitles (although I suppose that makes them subtitles ) was going to offer a choice of 4 languages, but I can't remember where it was.

If you prefer surtitles even for opera sung in English, as I do, don't go to the London Coliseum. In Vienna we saw Billy Budd which is of course in English, with German surtitles : I know no German & got very lost, and my husband said he understood more from the surtitles than from the singing !

Not really relevant but I attended an opera at the fabulous new Wales Millennium Centre at the weekend & it had 2 sets of surtitles over the stage, in English & Welsh respectively.

I enjoyed the Budapest & Palermo opera houses - both v. traditional & grand. Operas in the original, surtitles in the local languages. We were just lucky that our visits coincided with performances of operas we knew quite well. In Palermo the programme had a synopsis in English.

I seem to be in a minority but I didn't like the Vienna Staatsoper. It was heavily bombed in WW2 & the interior was completely rebuilt in a 1950s style which to me is quite austere and ugly.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Fenice and La Scala are both wonderful houses (even tho we've been to both before restorations, etc.) Just don't sit in the first box at LaScala..unless you have the two front seats.. sight line is nil. Also, the last balcony row of Fenice is a real test (but fun..)
If you ever get to New York City the Metropolitan Opera has a wonderful system.
Grandma is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 05:34 PM
  #14  
 
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"Rusalka" at Prague National Theatre offers surtitles in English.
JudyC is offline  

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