Going to the Opera in Rome: things to know if you are a tourist
Rome, founded 3,000 years ago on April 21 in the year 753 B.C., exudes history from every corner of the city. Every street has a story to tell about the greatness of the Roman Empire, the magnificence of the city of the popes. And in the 16th and 17th centuries Rome was also a hub for music, just think of the Roman school and composers such as Pierluigi da Palestrina. Going to the opera in Rome is an experience that evokes an important part of the city's history. Every concert by the Solisti dell'Opera Lirica di Roma is a true event!
Going to the opera in Rome: belcanto and opera
Before you go to the opera in Rome, you should know something about Italian classical music. What is bel canto? The term refers to a type of operatic virtuosity based on the use of incredible vocalizations. This type of singing has traditionally been called lyrical since the 17th century. Actually, the bel canto style is a singing technique unrelated to drama. But, for an opera this is not so; the direction is as much a part of the performance as the libretto itself. Literary content and music go hand in hand.
Going to the opera in Rome: commonplaces
During the opera, it is strictly forbidden to keep your smarphone on.
Even if you are in a seat in the very last row, if the performance is at the end of the second act, when the lights were about to come on, your cell phone is off limists. In the intermissions, however, you can turn it on and take some pictures: with the lights on they'll look even better.
Does one have to get dressed up?
Yes, but only at the premiere and it depends on the theater. At a premiere at La Scala in Milan, you have to go dressed for a grand evening: women in long dresses, men in tails or tuxedos. At evening performances you still have to dress up, preferably in dark. At afternoon performances you can go more casual. Jeans are allowed. One caution: it is strictly forbidden to wear the color purple: it's bad luck at the theater!
A myth to dispel: you must clap only in the intermission between acts.
Etiquette allows applauding on an open stage, when one of the leads enters, or at the end of a famous aria. To comply with etiquette one must start clapping when the orchestra has sounded the last note. No isolated clapping caught up in the excitement: the audience must clap as a single burst of hands, at which point you may shout "Bravo" (singular), but do not boo. Never!
Can you cough at the opera? It would be better not to.
During symphonic operas, coughing or clearing your throat is the worst insult you can do to the orchestral players: you should not emit a hiss! During melodrama, on the other hand, there is more freedom: there is so much cancàn on stage, the decibels emitted by tenors and sopranos fill the hall: chances are, if you miss a sneeze, no one will notice. In any case, it is rude to talk to your seat neighbors, unwrap creaky-wrapped candy, and generally make unnecessary noises.