Common Misconceptions about the Opera | The Washington Center

Common Misconceptions about the Opera

This week, I (along with my fellow interns at the Kennedy Center) had the chance to sit down with the executive director of the Washington National Opera, Michael Mael. During this time, we discussed the reasons that people choose not to attend the opera, especially young people. Through this discussion, we found the following four misconceptions that tend to steer people away from the opera.



1. "It’s expensive."

Tickets to any theatre, dance or opera performance can get pricey, no doubt. However, there are still affordable tickets available. The cheapest tickets at places like the Kennedy Center and even the Metropolitan Opera are around $35, which is incredibly reasonable.


2. “I won’t understand what they’re saying.”

First, let me start by saying not all operas are in a foreign language (there are some in English). That being said, some places that present operas have started including translations or subtitles in the performance. For example, at the Kennedy Center there is a screen at the top of the stage that displays subtitles in English, regardless of the language of the opera. So, if there is a time you’re not sure what a singer has said, a quick glance above them will tell you.


3. “It's for old people.”

While this stereotype is one the arts community is still fighting, there have been plenty of contemporary operas becoming more and more popular in the last decade or two. Two examples, which just so happen to be running at the Kennedy Center right now, are Dead Man Walking (final performance Saturday, March 11) and Champion (final performance Saturday, March 18). These contemporary operas contain subject matter that is much more appealing to millennial audiences.


4. "I don’t have an outfit."

Gentlemen: As long as you own a suit, or even just a nice suit jacket, honestly, you’re in the clear.


Ladies: I’ve got three options for you. First, dig out that old prom dress that you always said you would sell but never did and see if it still fits, since this is probably the closest thing you own to an evening gown (unless it’s hot pink, then please refer to options two and three). Second, remember that dress you bought because it was gorgeous and on sale but you didn’t really have a reason to wear it, so it’s just been hanging in your closet? I can’t be the only one who has done that, and this is the perfect occasion to pull it out. Finally, everyone owns plenty of all-black outfits; throw one of those together and add an elegant scarf, sweater or shawl, and you’re golden.


Now that we've cleared all that up, go get dressed up and head to the opera!

Read Brandi's previous blog posts

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