Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Who's afraid of opera? LA TRAVIATA , CARMEN , or NABUCCO. Which one should I choose?

Who's afraid of opera? LA TRAVIATA , CARMEN , or NABUCCO. Which one should I choose?

Oct 11th, 2002, 01:28 PM
Posts: n/a
Who's afraid of opera? LA TRAVIATA , CARMEN , or NABUCCO. Which one should I choose?

Going to Prague for Xmas... Which of the following operas would be the most enjoyable to an opera novice? LA TRAVIATA or CARMEN or NABUCCO??? And what iss a OPERA GALA anyway?
Oct 11th, 2002, 01:35 PM
Marc David Miller
Posts: n/a
Carmen. Even though I prefer Wagner and Prokovief, I still manage to catch Carmen once or twice a year. The music will be very familiar to you, and it is an interesting if not humourous story (although turning tragic in the end). Do yourself a favor and read the synopsis at some point (try www.MetOpera.org).

A Gala generally is a performance along with a reception (before, during or after) the opera. I was at the Opera in Prague January 2001 (on the 100th Anniversary of Verdi's death) and the reception was open for all during the intermission (a sponsor provided champagne for the attendees). Ask the opera house exactly what they are doing if you are interested.

And try not to sit in the second row of the boxes--there is no elevation and you will have an obstructed view.
Oct 11th, 2002, 01:39 PM
Posts: n/a
This was the last opera that I saw and it was so good that I would like to see it again!
Galas are fun, more dressed up, lots of champagne, but of course, here they are also more expensive.
Oct 11th, 2002, 01:52 PM
Posts: n/a

I was in Prague in January, and saw BOTH Carmen and La Traviata...and both were my first experiences with opera.

Although the singing was in Italian and the supertitles in Czech, it was a beautiful experience...Enjoy...

ps. the opera houses, State and National, are worth it alone.
Oct 11th, 2002, 02:04 PM
Posts: n/a
La Traviata by all means, IMHO. Verdi's works are all so moving to me, but La Trav. really is so musically balanced that it flows. It was the first opera I had seen in person, and it sticks with me.
Oct 11th, 2002, 02:18 PM
Posts: n/a
What do you mean by opera novice? If you mean someone who is beginning to listen to opera with the intent of getting to know it better, I'd say La Traviata because musically it's a wonderful opera. If you mean somebody who's really not an opera fan but would like to see one for the fun and spectacle of it, I'd say Carmen because it's more rousing and more familiar.
Oct 11th, 2002, 02:19 PM
Posts: n/a
Carmen! Dramatic, fun, and full of memorable music. BTW, they really dress up for the opera in Europe! Dark suit and tie at the least, for a man.
Oct 11th, 2002, 02:31 PM
Marc David Miller
Posts: n/a
Agree with Patg, especially in wintertime. You won't be shut out if you are underdressed, but you will stand out.
Oct 11th, 2002, 03:17 PM
Bob Brown
Posts: n/a
I have been to operas in several places in Europe. Don't worry about your attire as long as it is not shorts and a T-shirt. We sat in the most expensive seats in Paris next to a man clad in a formal T-shirt -- it was black.
Of your choices, Carmen and La Traviata rate at the top of my list, while Nabucco is 3rd tier. The first two acts of Traviata contain some of Verdi's most beautiful music and Carmen sparkles with drama, and dramatic singing. More than any operas I know of, both Carmen and Traviata rise or fall on the strength of the female lead. Without a seductive, talented singer, actress, and dancer Carmen can fall flat. Traviata depends heavily on a soprano who can do it all, particularly when she ends the first act with Sempre Libre. It also helps to have a good baritone in the role of Papa Germont, but without a strong Violetta, the opera turns into a travesty.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, there are not a lot of good Violettas around.
Anna Moffo was great in that role, but her prime years were quite a few years ago.
Oct 11th, 2002, 03:27 PM
Posts: n/a
As a child of an opera lover, I heard opera every day of the week (my Mum's personal favorite is La Boheme). I heartily put in a bid for Carmen - it is the best opera for a novice - in fact, it was the first opera I ever attended. It has drama and great music!
Oct 11th, 2002, 03:32 PM
Posts: n/a
Have to agree with the majority - Carmen, for sure. I LOVE Verdi also, but...Carmen for your first time.

Agree about the dressing up also; it's tradition for opera lovers.
Oct 11th, 2002, 04:14 PM
Posts: n/a
Definitely as some of the previous posters have said, “Carmen” for a first timer.

It took me a long time to develop a taste for opera. The best advice I received was to buy a recording, it wasn't a CD back then , of the opera and listen to it several times before you go. I don't mean 24/7 for a week, but two or three times a week for two or three weeks before you go. Being familiar with the music before seeing the opera makes it much more interesting.
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:20 PM
Posts: n/a
Good evening, Frank Being a devoteeof
Joe Green would have to pick La Traviata, personally prefer the italian
to the french of Carmen and feel it is
a lighter opera. Nubucco which I have
not scene seems to be heavy and slow
moving. Richard of LaGrange Park, Il..
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:42 PM
Posts: n/a

Either Carmen or Traviata would be a good choice. Each is filled with melodies that have been popularized in film and commercials. Carmen has the Habanera and the Torreodor's Song; Traviata has Libiamo and Sempre Libre.

Each starts out lightly and ends tragically. Each has an interesting female progagonist--a hooker in Traviata, a smuggler in Carmen -- a louse for a tenor and a baritone who spoils things. Both offer great choruses in the first act and some interesting opportunities for the opera company's corps de ballet.

Either is fairly easy for a novice to follow if the synopsis is read before hand. If you really want to prepare, get a hold of a video or DVD of the operas. There are plenty available, sometimes even at your local public library.

Nabucco is a wonderful opera, but much more static and complicated in plot. Better to get your first taste with either Carmen or Traviata or -- my inclination -- both.


Oct 11th, 2002, 09:58 PM
Posts: n/a
We saw La Traviata at the Teatro Verdi this past September with the orchestra of Palafenice in Padova (Padua) where most of the operas of Venice are done until the Opera house is rebuilt. Don't go to an opera for the story line, which is cheesy at best, but for the music which is ethereal, and this production was certainly that.
Oct 26th, 2002, 04:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks all for your input. I 've read your suggestions several times and figure I can't make a mistake. Either Carmen or La Traviata would be wonderful. I also promise to do my homework.

I purchased tickets for La Traviata at the Prague State Opera for Xmas Day. In addition, we will see The Magic Flute (Estates Theatre) and will go to the National Theatre for The Nutcracker.

We'll skip the Opera Gala at the Kaiserstein Palace ... too much of a good thing. I'm hoping we can attend a midnight mass concert in Old Town Prague(if any on has any suggestions).

I still don't know what a Nubucco is...and Carmen will just have to wait til next time.

Oct 26th, 2002, 08:44 PM
Posts: n/a
Personally, I would choose La Traviata, but that's because I prefer Verdi's music to Bizet. I agree with others that Carmen would certainly be a good choice for a novice, though. FYI a piece of trivia is that the original traviata (Marie Duplessis) is buried in the MOntmartre cemetery in Paris.

Although a gala might often refer to a special reception or opening night of an opera, in Prague, that is a term used for a well-known recital series (opera arias and duets) in Kaiserstein Palace in Mala Strana. They get some good singers there, from what I've seen. I think that could be very enjoyable (that is an outstanding baroque palace) for someone who'd rather listen to some of the music than sit through an entire opera (which is actually me, I love the music but not the rest).

I've been to the opera in Prague and folks didn't dress up any more than anywhere else that I noticed. The usual that you see at performances in theaters and concert halls everywhere, US and Europe -- very dressed up to not much at all. I think it's nice to hear Czech works in Prague, actually, those musicians really have a way with Central/Eastern European composers -- like Dvorak (I saw Rusalka there which was great).

Nabucco is the name of the king in the opera (called Nebuchanezzer elsewhere, I'm sure I didn't spell that right). That opera is best known for its chorus, I think, rather than any areas or duets, although I don't know that work very well--sort of a Biblical era extravaganza. I think Rigoletto and La Traviata are the best Verdi to start with. As for midnight Mass, there are several beautiful churches, two St Nicholas, Our Lady before Tyn, and I've read that the midnight Mass at St Vitus Cathedral at the castle is very special (a medieval one). They are very popular, so you should get there early. I'd try for the castle, then St Nicholas in Mala Strana myself.
Oct 27th, 2002, 07:41 AM
Posts: n/a
Frank, you lucky fellow!
While in Prague, if La Boheme is still at the National Theatre, see it if you can. The theatre's procution of this lovely opera is renowned. You may order tickets in advance and pick them up prior to the event.
La Traviata is wonderful and a great pick for your first opera. I have seen it several times.
If I were you I would read a synopsis of the Opera prior to going so you are familiar with the plot. Listening to it before hand will increase your appreciation of it, too.
Prague is an exquisite city. See the Decorative Arts Museum if you can and the Jewish Cemetary. Have a wonderful trip!
I sent you an invitation to look at my photos at webshots. There are shots of Prague that you may enjoy.
Enjoy Prague!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:35 AM.