The Abduction from the Seraglio is an opera by Mozart that tells the story of European captives of a Muslim pasha in the Ottoman Empire but in its current presentation it has new dialogues that bring a 21st-century spin to an 18th-century musical work. As someone who isn’t overly familiar with the art form, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, to my pleasant surprise I absolutely LOVED the show. In fact, experiencing the opera was mind-blowing, eye-opening and entertaining for so many reasons, but I’ll just share four today.
- It’s a great excuse to get Glam!
If you know me, you know I don’t need much convincing to throw on a gorgeous dress and get glammed up. And where better to do so than a night out at the Canadian Opera Company. My date for the night was my stepmother Iris Simpson who has a background in fashion and also loves anything musical. Because it was a bit cold we decided it would be best to go for something weather appropriate AND chic. So, she opted for her tried and tested A/W 1994 John Galliano blazer, tuxedo pants and a gorgeous blouse and I pulled out my red Jacquard Midi Dress from Zara and wore it with my OTK boots from Aldo. Getting dressed is half the fun and we met a few other attendees that felt the same way. I stopped and snapped a few pics on the Four Seasons Centre’s gorgeous glass staircase and also stopped to snap a few pics with a few chic attendees from the evening.
- The Mind-blowing Power of the Human Voice
We sipped on sparkling wine and grabbed a quick snack prior to entering R. Fraser Elliott Hall to watch the show. The auditorium was full of opera lovers eager for the show to commence and then it started. I was immediately moved by the power and projection of the cast’s voices. I kept looking to see where the microphones were and I couldn’t see anything. And it was during intermission where I learned that the cast sings unamplified using pure passion, emotion and strength to project their voices throughout the auditorium. I felt the emotions they were feeling, I felt the passion that they were demonstrating. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
- Opera is a Multidisciplinary Experience
Because of the focus on the overwhelming beauty and power of the music performed during an opera, it can be easy to forget that the opera is a truly multidisciplinary experience. It combines all art forms: singing, drama, orchestral music, choreography, dance, and – depending on the production – projections, video art, puppetry and acrobatic elements. The Abduction from the Seraglio infuses several of these artforms into the production resulting in an unforgettable experience.
- The Opera is a Welcoming Environment.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have a few misconceptions about what my opera experience might be like. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t have a ton of prior experience in or knowledge of the artform so the though of attending an opening night at the opera was a bit intimidating. We were greeted and welcomed by fellow opera lovers and attendees as soon as we arrived, and we were met by the Canadian Opera Company’s Nikita Gourski, upon picking up our tickets. Nikita took us through the venue explaining the architectural history of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and pointing out some of the aspects of the building that were designed to maintain the highest level of sound quality in the auditorium. After taking in the space we met Andrew Stewart, a librarian at University of Toronto by day and a bartender for the Canadian Opera Company by night who shared fun facts about the space. It turns out that there are honeybees that live on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The hives sometimes have as many as 800,000 bees and generate about 50 pounds of honey annually. Some of which is actually sold at the Four Seasons Centre! This helps offset the effects of colony collapse disorder, an epidemic responsible for the loss of up to 40% of honey bees in many countries including Canada. How cool is that! Then after the show we enjoyed a champagne toast with the cast and crew. It was the perfect way to end the night. I will definitely be attending again.
Have you attended the opera? If so, what did you see? And if not, would you go?
Kindly note that this blog post was created in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.