Is Opera for Everyone?

“[Elektra] will blow [teenagers’] minds!  Think of the anger expressed in this piece.  It’s about rage, matricide, disempowerment between generations.  It’s also about revolution and not accepting the status quo.  Very, very few people in the audience will find nothing to relate to in experiencing this opera.”  – Sir David McVicar, director of Lyric Opera’s recent production of Elektra, on the accessibility of the opera “I thought opera was for old farts, bourgeoisie and people in dinner jackets.  Opera’s for anyone who’s willing to submit.  Stick your nose in and find out what’s going on.” – Terry Gilliam   The answer to the titular question is, of course, no.  There are some people – possibly even a large faction of people – who will either never be able to experience an opera or abhor the experience regardless.  What this is really asking, though, is whether opera has a wider (and, more importantly, younger) audience than it currently has.  To this end, I think the response is resoundingly affirmative, and as these given quotes portend, I’m hardly alone on that. Two recent events have led me to ponder this dilemma.  My wife and I recently attended Lyric’s production of Strauss’ Elektra.  more »