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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fear and Loathing at the Opera

According to Wiki, there is no medical or technical term for fear of opera or opera singers. ("Pavarottiphobia?") But with Halloween coming up, let's look at some of the phobias you might encounter at the opera house. There are five on this list. Alphabetical order.
Violetta: a working girl on the clock.
Photo © Salzburg Festival

Altophobia: Not a fear of low-voiced female singers. Fear of heights is a real problem for some opera lovers, who avoid the upper reaches of the Family Circle at the Met and the Fourth Ring of the New York City Opera. However, those seats have the best acoustics, since the "top of the house" is where most singers sing to when they're onstage.


Chronomentrophobia: The fear of clocks. This could be a real problem for patrons attending the Met's new production of La Traviata, which opens on New Year's Eve. Willy Decker's set involves Violetta singing on the face of a giant clock.

Hemophobia: The fear of blood. Sufferers should avoid verismo tragedies at all costs, and steer clear of such bloody works as Lucia di Lammermoor, Tosca and Wozzeck.

Kainolophobia: Judging from the mixed reaction to the new Das Rheingold and the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Luc Bondy's Tosca in 2009, some of the Met audience suffers from a fear of new things. New productions this year include the arrival of Nixon in China, and new stagings of Don Carlo and Boris Godunov.

Technophobia: Afraid of technology? Then avoid the new production of Die Walküre opening at the Met in April. The high-tech production features a multi-million dollar computer-controlled device (nicknamed "The Machine") which turns itself into mountain passes, windswept rocks, and whatever else is necessary to stage Wagner's drama. Those afraid of flying, fire and German opera ("götterdämmerophobia") should also stay home.

And one more, because I can't resist:

Allodoxophobia: Fear of opinions. Luckily, opera lovers don't seem to have this one. Feel free to fight against it by leaving comments below!
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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.