What to expect from an Italian opera
If you have never been to the opera before, it can be a very daunting experience especially if you are planning to go to an opera in Rome (the home of the opera). You should not let your anxiety affect your enjoyment and you should take this opportunity to embrace this incredible new experience. But to help you on your way, here is a little guide to get you started.
When planning a trip to the opera you should bear in mind that they do not come cheap. There is a good reason for the high cost, and it will soon become clear once you attend one for yourself. A full orchestra, theatre, set pieces, designers, producers, directors and not to mention the performers themselves – these are all highly skilled and trained professionals so do not expect a bargain when it comes to the opera. You get what you pay for.
Finding the right opera for you
No two operas are the same and so no two experiences at the opera are the same. Do your research to find an opera that matches your tastes or your mood, if you pick something at random and assume that all operas are alike then you may find your view very much distorted. For example, a 3-hour-long opera may be a little too much for a novice like yourself and you may prefer a concert that showcases a selection of arias from different operas performed by different voices. This is a great way to introduce yourself to a variety of different opera genres and styles and figure out which one is right for you.
The dress code is something that might put you on edge as there is a stereotype of the opera being a black-tie event for only the most high-end clientele. It is important to feel comfortable and there are some places where you can turn up in jeans or other more casual clothes. However, at the Italian opera, you will probably feel underdressed rather than overdressed and you should take this opportunity to get dressed up and be glamorous. However, there is no mandatory dress code so you will likely see a variety of overdressed and underdressed customers, meaning you have more freedom to dress how you please.
Finally, you should consider whether you want to attend a large, historic opera house or if you would be more comfortable at a smaller, independent theatre or a cultural association. Smaller venues may offer up unrivaled intimacy and a more personable atmosphere. Small touring companies or regional houses can be a more immersive experience and may be preferable for a beginner just getting into the art.
However, historical opera theatres can be truly unforgettable. These venues offer global superstars and the highest performance standards, along with some of the most impressive architecture you are likely to find in Italy. If you are looking for a more formal, extravagant experience then a venue like Teatro Alla Scala in Milan.