Ashutosh Khandekar

First impressions

12:20, 19th February 2018

Young music lover Rosie Mortimer visits Covent Garden for her first experience of opera, where she is bowled over by the stirring music and awe-inspiring surroundings

This was my first visit to the Royal Opera House and I found it breathtaking! It’s a big, beautiful and special place with a luxurious, artistic feel. It was a bit like walking into a fantasy world and was very different from anywhere else I’ve been. The rich artwork on the ceiling was especially stunning.

We saw a double bill of Cavelleria rusticana and Pagliacci. The second opera felt lighter to me, with more happy moments and sunny music. I really liked the play within a play, which had a bright, colourful set. Cavalleria rusticana was also very enjoyable, though it has a darker plot and staging, with its story all about revenge. The opening scene was very intense and the arias gave me goosebumps. The power of the music when the full orchestra played with the chorus was unimaginable.

IMG_4744I have been having singing lessons for six years, since Year 3, so was particularly looking forward to hearing the soloists. I have seen several musicals, including Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and Grease, but this was my first experience of opera. I was amazed by the power of the singing, and the fact that there were no microphones meant you could really hear the voices and the differences between them. The high notes held by the sopranos were spine-tingling – I hope I will be able to sing like that one day!

My favourite character in Cavalleria rusticana was Turiddu because of the power of his voice, though I felt sorry for him because he fell in love with the wrong person and could not hide his feelings. Overall, the character I liked most was Nedda in Pagliacci because I could imagine playing her part – I liked the fact that she was slightly mystical and not predictable. However, I didn’t feel sorry when she died because she had an affair with another man against her husband, who obviously loved her very much.

I was expecting the singers to be heavier because there is a lot of power needed from the stomach to sing with such volume – and because of seeing pictures and cartoons of opera singers. Yet most of them were not large at all: some were very slim!

I would definitely recommend the Royal Opera House to my friends who are interested in music and I would love to go again someday.

Bryan Hymel sang the role Tiriddu and Simona Mihai was Nedda in this performance of Cav & Pag staged by Damiano Michieletto

Royal Opera House


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