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What I think about: Opera on holiday.

My first experience of opera was far from home. I was in Edinburgh, and Oedipus Rex was playing at the King's Theatre. I resolved to see it, even when cautioned that the production was not Sophocles' play but the opera by Stravinsky. The first half of the double bill was even more unexpected, it was something called Bluebeard's Castle Bluebeard's Castle (Hungarian: A kékszakállú herceg vára; literally: "the castle of the blue-bearded prince") is a one-act opera by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. . That dramatic, musically bewildering be·wil·der  
tr.v. be·wil·dered, be·wil·der·ing, be·wil·ders
1. To confuse or befuddle, especially with numerous conflicting situations, objects, or statements. See Synonyms at puzzle.

 evening sealed my fate, and ever since, my of opera has been linked to a certain wanderlust. Searching out operatic possibilities has become one of my favorite My Favorite is an independent synthpop band from Long Island, New York. They released two CDs: Love at Absolute Zero and Happiest Days of Our Lives. My Favorite broke up on September 14, 2005, when singer Andrea Vaughn left the band.  ways to plan a trip, and aside from a pilgrimage to the Outer Hebrides Outer Hebrides, Scotland: see Hebrides, the. , my holidays usually include at least a performance or two.

There is a wonderful freedom in attending operas while you're on holiday. Instead of rushing off directly from an intensive day's work (Naut.) the account or reckoning of a ship's course for twenty-four hours, from noon to noon.

See also: Day
, you have time to relax and prepare for the experience. There's a sense of cultural preparedness, too. If you've spent the morning visiting Weber's house on the outskirts of Dresden, a performance of Der Freischiitz at the Semperoper will take on a resonance it may never have elsewhere. Even if the production has no visual connection to a German romance from the early 19th century, you'll be more in tune with the music than you could ever be at home. Museums, galleries, street cafes--a different pace of life--all these elements enhance the effect of opera on holiday.

Whether you choose to attend the famous international festivals or not, there are many opportunities for intensive opera-going, or you can combine a relaxing countryside tour with a few choice stops, for example to the famous Italian opera The opera company which was commonly referred to as "The Italian Opera" performed at Her Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket until 1847 and from then on at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London

Italian opera
 towns of Bologna, Parma and Verona And it's not just London, Paris and Berlin that have more than one tantalizing tan·ta·lize  
tr.v. tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing, tan·ta·liz·es
To excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach.
 venue; there are two opera houses Opera houses are listed by continent, then by country with the name of the opera house and city; the opera company is sometimes named for clarity. Note: there are many theatres whose name includes the words Opera House  in Vienna, for instance, and three in Prague.

But there are more compelling reasons for opera-touring than just adding operas and productions like notches to your belt. Audience preferences differ from culture to culture, enhancing not only the art form but your holiday. Often your best chance for seeing and hearing unusual operas is by travelling to the source--Aulis Sallinen in Helsinki, perhaps, or James Macmillan in Glasgow. There's also an intensity of involvement that can only be experienced first-hand. Just this spring, I was standing with about 35 other people at the ticket desk in the Vienna State Opera The Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), located in Vienna, Austria, is one of the most important opera companies in Europe and throughout the world. Until 1920 it was named the Vienna Court Opera (k.k. Hofoper). , hoping for a last-minute ticket for a new production of Nabucco. Even after all the tickets were gone--after the overture, the applause and the beginning of the opera itself--we were still waiting.

Opera is an art form of passion and pride. At home, you may revel in the accomplishments of your local company and especially in home-grown talents who have made good. Watching a career blossom is one of the great joys of being involved in your own musical community, and travelling can extend that sense of involvement. It is truly gratifying grat·i·fy  
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.

 to watch a Canadian singer, designer or director triumph internationally, and fun to applaud and cheer as shamelessly as any claque claque

Group of people hired to clap (French, claquer) and show approval in order to influence a theatre audience. The claque dates from ancient times. Comedy competitions in Athens were often won by contestants who infiltrated audiences with paid supporters.

Planning an extended holiday around musical events is not for everyone, but it can be an intensive, value-added element in a trip you've always wanted to take. Sharing the joys, the complexities, even the dismal moments of a production is akin to breathing mountain air for opera-lovers, so the wish to travel with like-minded souls is only natural.

So what's the best way to plan an opera holiday? If you want to strike out on your own, the Internet is an invaluable resource. Most opera companies have detailed Websites with cast and production information to help you design your own adventure. If the prices seem prohibitive, remember that in many houses, standing room is still a bargain, and you're bound to meet some wonderful people.

There are many tour organizers who will do much of the planning for you. Some specialize in designing music and opera tours for specific clients, while others put together packages that include airfare, accommodation, performance tickets and arts-related touring. Such tours usually include an arts or opera consultant, as well as local guides for sightseeing. You can choose to be footloose foot·loose  
Having no attachments or ties; free to do as one pleases.


free to go or do as one wishes

Adj. 1.
, or treat yourself to an intensive voyage of discovery, immerse yourself in studying librettos or just have fun.

Bon voyage!

Toronto broadcaster Catherine Belyea enjoys opera both at home and abroad, and occasionally leads opera tours
COPYRIGHT 2001 Opera Canada Publications
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Belyea, Catherine
Publication:Opera Canada
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 22, 2001
Previous Article:Opera Online.
Next Article:Exhibitions, Events and Premiers. (OPERA IN THE NEWS).

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