Opera for students

28/04/2016 - 09:45-2 Comments by | poland flag

Last week I saw my first opera by Richard Wagner: “Tristan and Isolde” in Dortmund. Our painting professor is quite a fan of Richard Wagner and organizes a “Wagner-opera-trip” every year. I think it’s a great way to introduce students to the opera. After all, university life is not only about studying, but also about gathering new experiences! For me, a group trip was certainly a motivation to sit over a few hours of the dramatic Wagner’s music—to be honest, I prefer the jolly rhythms by Mozart :).

“Tristan and Isolde” was my first Wagner opera, but for a few years I’ve been an opera fan myself. I still have a lot to learn about the opera music, but the important fact is that I truly enjoy going to the opera!

If you are a student in Germany, you’re in the perfect place to give opera a try! German opera theaters are of excellent quality, offering both traditional and contemporary interpretations of the plays. Probably the Germans really “feel” the opera, because many great composers—such as Wagner or Mozart—were German speakers.

If you’re still a little hesitant, let me challenge some myths about the opera!

MYTH: It’s expensive!

Yes, some operas offer really expensive seats in the VIP places, and probably that’s where that myth came from. BUT you don’t have to pay a lot to enjoy opera!

Students of German universities (typically you also cannot be older than 29) can enjoy generously reduced tickets to the opera and to the theatre! I’ve been to a few operas here, and I usually paid around 6-13 euro for a ticket! Those are the prices for the balcony seats, but you don’t really need to see the every expression on the singer’s face. After all, it’s mostly about the music!

MYTH: It’s hard to understand!

Well, you’re not the only person who does not understand the singing, so don’t worry about being the only one. Even if the singers sing in your native language (let it be Italian, French, or German), the words will be hard to recognize.

That’s why the theatres screen subtitles during the operas. The subtitles are necessary for the “foreign” opera plays, but are also shown during the German plays. Typically the subtitles are in German. Sometimes you can also see the double German/English translation. If you’re learning German, the subtitles are pretty easy to follow. I even think that opera is a better way to experience the German theater than the classical theater plays (such as comedies, dramas, etc) – because you can help yourself with subtitles, instead of trying to understand the fast speech of the actors!

MYTH: The plot’s too complicated!

Some operas do have a complicated plot (side-note: it’s called libretto in the opera world), perhaps for the sake of the better drama. Usually it just SEEMS complicated, because everything is sung and spread in time. Fortunately, with the subtitles you can see that many lines are repeated—the characters can sing about one, same thing (I love you-I suffer-I love you-etc.) for more than five minutes! Don’t worry about it—the music is wonderful, so you won’t get bored. The best way to follow a plot is to read the short synopsis on Wikipedia. It seems like spoiling, but it’s not! Opera is about the music and the experience. The knowledge of the plot will help you become more engaged without worrying about “what will happen next and what if I miss something important while listening to this aria.”

MYTH: Opera is only for those who know something about it! I don’t even know how to start enjoying it!

Just give it a try and go see an opera! People say that you’ll either love it or hate it. Regardless of the love/hate relationship, it’ll be an interesting and valuable experience. Google operas in your city and pick the one which sounds interesting to you!

If you cannot make up your mind, my tip is MOZART. His operas are funny, well-written, and the music is amazing! “Don Giovanni” has been my favorite opera so far. “The Marriage of Figaro” (Die Hochzeit des Figaro) and the “Magic Flute” (Zauberflöte) are also very popular. Typically, every opera house has at least one Mozart’s opera in their current season.

If you’d like to learn more about Mozart and his operas, watch the movie “Amadeus”! The plot follows his work on some of his operas…and it’s overally a great movie!

Have fun!

Tags: English Blog Post, Everyday Life, Holidays & Events, Leisure Time, Society & Culture, Student Life



    Morning, i’am a young stendent gabonise and my dream is to continued my study in germany

    Comment by ABA’A ASSOUMOU bienvenu created 28/04/2016 - 17:12

    awesome post! really re-ignite my general passion for theater arts (my past passion was basically for Chinese Peking Opera which is difficult to access)

    I am excited to start my journey of the local/German tradition of theatre!!!

    Comment by Schuia created 01/05/2016 - 13:03

(required will not be published)

Back to top