Many new opera listeners are intimidated by the range of operas available, but this guide to three best operas for opera novices makes getting into opera a snap. All too often, new opera listeners are turned off to the art form because the first thing they pick turns out to be a very challenging piece. The experience of listening to something that isn’t accessible is enough to make anyway throw up their hands and walk away, but with the right introduction to opera, new opera listeners can find works that will appeal to them even before they’ve “acquired a taste” for the medium. This list of the three best operas for opera novices will introduce you to the top three most accessible, beginner-friendly works this classic art form has to offer. Read on, and get an easy introduction to opera that will help you learn to appreciate the best of the operatic world.
Among these operas for beginners, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly is the easiest to find in live production, which makes it a great starting point. Madama Butterfly is the most often performed opera in North America, and many opera companies make a point of including it in their seasons with the primary goal of attracting new opera listeners. That means many productions of Madama Butterfly are done with opera novices in mind, and feature staging choices that create visual splash and make the action easy to follow. There’s more to the appeal of this Puccini masterpiece than how it is likely to be stage, of course. There are three core reasons why Madama Butterfly must make any list of the best pieces for opera novices: the music is melodic but never fluffy, the characters are vividly drawn but never opaque, and the storyline is accessible but not boring. This winning combination makes Madama Butterfly a great choice for new opera listeners.
Best Song For Beginners:Un Bel Di, in which the young heroine Butterfly vividly imagines every detail of her absent husband’s return.
Even new opera listeners are sure to recognize many of the famous melodies and arias in George Bizet’s Carmen. The familiar strains of the Toreador song have been used in countless film scores and television commercials, and new opera listeners may be surprised to discover its origins in this engaging, accessible opera. Because of its dramatic heft, the enigmatic title character is a favorite role for many Mezzo-Sopranos, and the appeal of the fiery Gypsy woman who is at the heart of the story makes this one of the best operas for beginners. Opera novices will be drawn to the humanity of the heroine whether or not they pick up on the subtly groundbreaking innovations in the music. When it comes to the best operas for beginners, Carmen is high on the list for its enduring melodies and appealing main character. Opera novices will find much beyond the “greatest hits” to love in this piece.
Best Song For Beginners: The first Prelude, the instrumental medley which begins the show, and includes snippets of many recognizable tunes from Carmen, including the Toreador song.
Puccini’s La Boheme is one of the best operas for beginners because of its enduring . This accessible masterwork is one of the most popular operas of all time, in part because it is as appealing to new opera listeners as it is to seasoned opera buffs. Many of the Arias are not only memorable, but are even downright catchy, and are sure to hold the interest of opera novices. The simple storyline follows a pair of couples as they fall in love, and try to keep that love alive. Because there are few characters to keep track of, new opera listeners can relax and enjoy the music without having to struggle to understand what is happening onstage. Opera novices may recognize the story from one of its two Broadway successes. This classic tale of life among the bohemian artists of 1830s Paris was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical “Rent.” Because of that success, the opera La Boheme itself was given new life in a splashy, Tony-award winning 2003 Broadway production directed by Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge). The crowds that flocked to see La Boheme on Broadway were largely made up of new opera listeners, and the show’s popularity proved this Puccini work to be one of the best operas for beginners.
Best Song For Beginners:Musetta’s Waltz, an upbeat aria sung by the flirtatious Musetta as she tries to get the attention of her romantic interest.