Something for Everyone - Approachable Opera!

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Something for Everyone - Approachable Opera!

When you think of opera do you think of opulent opera houses with people dressed in ball gowns dripping in glamor and high society? Think again! Today’s opera is much more available to everyone - no tux required nor is any study of a libretto (the story) required before attending. You can just show up and be swept away by the amazing music, the sets, the costumes, and the uber talented voices that are trained to have a resonance that can project throughout the theater without any microphones.
This season in the San Francisco Bay area, you’ll find a wide array of fabulous productions (listed below) that will leave you inspired and enthralled!


I wasn’t always an opera buff. My sisters and I grew up with parents that loved opera. They’d go to classes and talks about an upcoming opera. They’d study the libretto with friends. They belonged to Opera Societies. They studied Italian at West Valley College. As kids, we wanted nothing to do with that music. It was for their generation.
Even though we had different tastes in music, we did share a love of Italy and all things Italian. My uncle was from Rome, and that’s where it all started. I took Italian classes in high school and college, and even lived in Italy as an exchange student. 

Understanding Italian helped a little when I heard Italian opera wafting through my parent’s home, but not enough to really understand what was being sung nor spark any desire to want to lean into the music or go to an opera in person.
I just didn’t quite get the allure my parents had for opera.
It just seemed too dramatic, too shrill, too loud, and honestly, I had no idea what was going on because I just didn’t have the desire to study it. My experience of hearing it on a record or radio or seeing it as a film in a classroom or on the TV was enough to know it wasn’t for me. 


I was transferred to New York from San Jose during my career in tech and began attending live performances of Opera in New York City and Connecticut. I also sang in choir with Yale Opera students that were studying their craft and developed an appreciation for the beauty of their voices and decided to study voice myself. That’s when everything changed.
Live performances just brought a whole new level of appreciation for the art form. Even more than hearing the performance, trying it yourself is a very humbling experience! That’s when you truly understand that classical voice training in this bel canto style of singing requires a lot of training to have the type of resonance you hear on stage at the opera. It’s physically demanding, and then when you add acting to the mix, it takes it to another level that brings my deep admiration to those on the opera stage! 

But you don’t have to try to sing opera to appreciate it. Just go to a live performance! You’ll see that opera these days is much more approachable. There’s no studying or preparation required. You can just show up and all the words that are being sung in another language are translated above the stage into English in supertitles so you don’t miss a thing! 


If you’ve been intimidated by opera, give it another try! Let the gorgeous music and sets transport you to a place and time that will entertain and engross you so much that the three hours (yep, operas can be long!) goes by in an instant! You too may turn into an opera buff!

The 2022-2023 season is upon us! Support the arts and check out our local, professional companies in San Jose and Palo Alto, or head to San Francisco for the big name stars and high society experience! 
Here are the Operas Being Performed this Season:
San Francisco Opera, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

  • La Traviata, Verdi (Nov 2022-Dec 2022)
  • Orpheus & Eurydice, Gluck (Nov 2022-Dec 2022)
  • Madame Butterfly, Puccini (Jun 2023-Jul 2023)
  • Die Frau ohne Schatten, Strauss (Jun 2023)
  • El Ultimo Sueno de Frida y Diego, Frank & Cruz (Jun 2023)
Opera San Jose, California Theater, San Jose

  • The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart (Sept 2022)
  • Cinderella, Deutscher (Nov 2022)
  • Falstaff, Verdi (Feb 2023)
  • Tosca, Puccini (Apr 2023)
West Bay Opera, Lucie Stern Theater, Palo Alto

  • La Traviata, Verdi (Oct 2022)
  • Don Giovanni, Mozart (Feb 2023)
  • The Flying Dutchman, Wagner (May 2023-Jun 2023)


Janet Souza

Hello! I'm Janet Souza, lifestyle blogger and REALTOR® at Christie's International Real Estate Sereno. I live and work in Silicon Valley and love everything our wonderful area has to offer. If you live in Silicon Valley or are thinking about moving here, you've come to the right place! Stay up to date with local events, theater, concerts, Real Estate and more! 

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