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Am I unusual to find opera excruciatingly difficult to listen to?

(155 Posts)
PamelaJ1 Sun 22-Nov-20 16:23:37

We’ve just been watching that lovely Italian chap showing us round Italy. Lovely.
Then a young lady appeared and burst into song. 😱 it almost hurts. Do you have to have been subjected to the noise in the womb to appreciate it?

Toadinthehole Sun 22-Nov-20 17:25:05

It’s not for me either*Pamela*. I love musicals. The music is usually deep and meaningful. Opera just irritates my ear drums😖

silverlining48 Sun 22-Nov-20 17:30:05

There are some beautiful opera arias, some I find harder to listen to. I wasn’t brought up with any particular music but like a lot of it so have made a point of playing classical music to my gd since she was very small.
She used to sit in the back of the car asking for classical music and we used to pretend play the instruments that we thought were being played. Not sure she would ask now she’s 11 and us starting to like her music but hope some of our early listening might return as she grows.

MamaCaz Sun 22-Nov-20 17:32:27

I've been to two operatic performances in my life, one when I was in my twenties and one relatively recently. My appreciation of it (or rather lack of ...) hasn't changed - I will not be subjecting myself to it a third time!

Maybe there is something wrong with my heating or the way my brain processes opera. So far, those are the only reasons I can think of that might explain why operatic singing often sounds out of tune to me.

MamaCaz Sun 22-Nov-20 17:35:19

Hearing, not heating. ( Though my heating has^ been a problem ever since the menopause!)

BlueSky Sun 22-Nov-20 17:35:58


Which lovely Italian chap Pamela?

If you mean Francesco da Mosto, I could watch and listen to him anytime!


Same here Calendar and Kate! wink
Don’t like opera or jazz or country music.

suziewoozie Sun 22-Nov-20 17:46:32

I think opera is very marmite. My first opera experience was Madame Butterfly when I was in my late teens. I was au pair in Hamburg. I just was entranced. I was then lucky enough to become part of a group at University who were really into operas and so my love of opera grew thanks to them. I had to wait until I met DH to learn the joys of Janacek but I’ve remained a Puccini /Verdi /Mozart fan. I find though that apart from one or two arias/duets I can only really appreciate opera as a live performance. So that’s it for the foreseeable sadly. This thread has reminded me what I’m missing😰

Baggs Sun 22-Nov-20 17:53:40

I feel the same way about most* music and live performance, sw. Even with the best recordings available, there is no comparison between recorded and live music for me.

* By most I mean early and classical music and some folk. Most pop music leaves me cold and always has.

Hetty58 Sun 22-Nov-20 17:56:04

I was brought up by a mother who played (and sang along to) loud opera music. Result? I really can't stand it!

Jane10 Sun 22-Nov-20 17:56:56

Some operatic arias bring me closer to tears than any other form of music.

Onthenaughtystep1 Sun 22-Nov-20 17:57:53

Not all opera surely?

hollysteers Sun 22-Nov-20 17:58:19

When you love something, it’s difficult to understand how other people don’t get it. To me, opera is a fantastic blend; acting, music, scenery etc. It has some of the most passionate music ever written. Have you hearts of stone?😆 The tenor/soprano duet from Madame Butterfly is one of the most moving pieces I’ve heard.
Sadly, since my husband died, it can be too emotional.
I love pop, but jazz only as background music, when I find it very relaxing,

Grandma70s Sun 22-Nov-20 18:02:38

As Jane10 said, there is opera and opera! You really can’t lump it all together. On the whole I love it because it is good drama. I never just listen without knowing what it’s about. I have some sympathy with dislike for operatic female voices, but again they vary. It is better to see an opera than just listen to it.

I love Benjamin Britten’s operas because he chose very interesting subjects. My son started with Puccini but is now a Wagner addict. We both like Verdi. My grandchildren have heard opera in the house since they were babies, and have been to a children’s opera at the Royal Opera House. It wasn’t an unqualified success, because the music was too ‘modern’ (ie discordant) for any of them to enjoy much.

I was brought up with lots of singing, but not opera, apart from Hansel and Gretel at school. I learnt about opera in general when I was in my early 20s.

I generally strongly dislike pop or rock music. That’s what makes me cringe! I loathe jazz, too, having been subjected in my teens to my brother’s jazz band practising in our house.

agnurse Sun 22-Nov-20 18:06:13

There are a number of different kinds of opera. You may like to consider listening to an opera comique (e.g. "Orpheus in the Underworld") or a lyric opera (e.g. "Carmen"). Opera comique uses spoken dialogue and is a lot simpler than grand opera. Lyric opera combines opera comique and grand opera. You might also like to listen to something by Verdi. Verdi was known for his use of bel canto style, Italian for "beautiful singing".

Calendargirl Sun 22-Nov-20 18:23:33


That's him Calendar as I mentioned above smile

Sorry, missed your post!


silverlining48 Sun 22-Nov-20 18:28:05

I once sat through Benjamin Britton’s War requiem, daughter was in the chorus. I wasn’t expecting a fun night out given it’s title but golly it was sombre and I couldn’t wait for it all to end.
Others would disagree, grandma70s, for one. who is a fan. Horses and courses spring to mind.

QuaintIrene Sun 22-Nov-20 18:28:51

I enjoy opera very much. But listening to cds is a lot different to seeing it being performed. The costumes, the orchestra and the whole treat of going to a matinee is another thing entirely.
One of my earliest memories is of my father taking me to see Madam Butterfly when I can’t have been more than four years old. I cried so much he had to carry me out of the theatre. It was the scattering of rose petals, when Butterfly prepares for her love to come back 😢 the staging and lighting was so beautiful. I will never forget it.

watermeadow Sun 22-Nov-20 18:33:56

I love classical music but can’t listen to jazz or opera.
The soprano voice to me sounds forced, screaming and wailing and vibrato is just a horrible noise.
As I can never hear a word I wonder why the singers bother to learn the words?

MaggieTulliver Sun 22-Nov-20 18:55:13

I agree with you totally OP. I’m an amateur singer and absolutely loathe vibrato. Listening to that woman last night was excruciating! I can just about tolerate male opera singers but women just sound hideous. It’s unnatural and forced to sing that way and I just don’t get how people find it beautiful.

MayBee70 Sun 22-Nov-20 19:04:25

I like to think I have a very broad taste when it comes to music but I don’t think I could sit through an opera. I don’t like jazz, either. I do like a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan: Ruddygore (sp) being my favourite. I did enjoy it when they had a bit of Wagner at Glastonbury the other year. And there’s a medieval opera thingy called The Pilgrimage to Santiago that I love.

Grandma70s Sun 22-Nov-20 19:08:12

silverlining48, I just can’t imagine not finding the War Requiem moving. All that great poetry allied to great music. What did your daughter think? I find if I sing something (and I’ve sung that a few times) I find more and more in it.

Kate1949 Sun 22-Nov-20 19:17:57

Calendar smile

Grandma70s Sun 22-Nov-20 19:23:34

watermeadow, it helps to look at the words before you go. They will almost certainly be online. In any case, these days there are usually subtitles, so you can read them as you watch.

As with most things, the more you put in the more you get out,

Urmstongran Sun 22-Nov-20 19:32:14

I ❤️ opera! Another Puccini fan here - reaching parts other genres just can’t soar to.

Actually I like most music. Playlists depend on my mood, same for most of us I expect.

EllanVannin Sun 22-Nov-20 19:35:49

Love opera, especially duets sung by Jonas Kaufmann and Angela Gheorgihu. Absolutely wonderful.

EllanVannin Sun 22-Nov-20 19:43:24

I went to see Madam Butterfly at the Empire, Liverpool some years ago and was a wreck by the time it ended. The same with La Boheme. I'm hopeless grin
I'd have gone to see Madam Butterfly again as it's on at Liverpool on the 4th of December, but---