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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Superconductor Fall Preview: The Metropolitan Opera

Breaking down the 2013-14 season by degree of difficulty.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Nathan Gunn seeks advice in a scene from The Magic Flute.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2013 The Metropolitan Opera. Captions by the author.
Attending a performance--even a bad one--at the Metropolitan Opera is an amazing experience. But for a lot of first-timers, the idea of attending any opera at all is off-putting, intimidating, maybe even elitist. It takes  money to afford a night out at the Met--if the average $100 ticket prices don't get you, the tiny sandwiches ($13 last season, probably going up this year will.

Given the high ticket prices at the Met, it takes some fortitude to stand for two hours on the Met's basement rush line. It requires perseverance (and good eyesight) to endure the so-called "Family Circle Balance"--all that is left of the house's once budget-priced seats up at the very tippy top-and-back of the seven-level auditorium.

So with all that in mind, here's a quick re-organization of this year's Metropolitan Opera season, with the links to this year's Superconductor Metropolitan Opera Previews broken down into Beginner's, Easy, Advanced Hard, and Elite levels. Hopefully, it might provide some guidance as you work your way into the wonderful (not to mention obsessive and quite possibly expensive) world of the opera. Each category of operas is listed in the order that the operas premiere.

The Beginner's Level: Good "first-time" operas, including the Met's abbreviated "holiday" version of The Magic Flute and the Johann Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus.
Easy: Common repertory, universal stories. All of these are well-known, classic operas.
Advanced: The next level up--rarely heard but compelling operas that are still good for beginners.
Elite: Complex music, unusual languages. Some awesome productions.
Expert: Modern operas, obscure repertory, difficult plots, unusual productions. (In other words, what we here at Superconductor are really excited about.)

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats