Debate: Informed performance - should we read up before attending a show?
Does reading synopses and contextual information beforehand detract or enhance an experience?
It’s a common dilemma – wanting to fully understand the intricacies of plot in a ballet or opera without spoiling a thrilling twist in the drama. There are also productions that are a complex reaction to the work, the enjoyment of which may be increased by knowing something about the work become attending a performance.
Should we read up about a piece in advance or experience the performance ‘blind’ and in the moment?
The Royal Opera House offers a range of contextual information through our own website, YouTube and social media channels, as well as richly detailed programme articles. These methods of enriching artistic experiences are popular, but there seems to be a question mark over how much we should reveal (and how much people should have to read or watch) before, during, and after performances. Ahead of two ambitious and complex Royal Opera productions Les Vêpres siciliennes and Parsifal – let us know what you think using the comments field below:
Do you like to read up before a performance, or do you think it is important to see a production fresh, with no sense of what is in store?
A selection of your comments from Twitter:
— DaveTriesBallet (@DaveTriesBallet) September 26, 2013
— Maria Elner (@MariaElner) September 26, 2013
@RoyalOperaHouse Definitly read up before! Then I can enjoy the moment instead of constantly wondering what is going on.
— Ronnie Boehm (@ronnieboehm) September 26, 2013
@RoyalOperaHouse I prefer to read story & background in advance, then I can lose myself in the music & performance.
— Carol Newton (@ROHvCotswolds) September 26, 2013
@RoyalOperaHouse Love the surprise of a new show – had to read up on Swan Lake & Mayerling afterwards though to make sense of them!
— artsworth (@artsworth) September 26, 2013
— Little Angelic Rose (@LilAngelicRose) September 26, 2013
@RoyalOperaHouse Always try to know the story beforehand, otherwise I can’t fully enjoy the music which, I think is the most important part.
— Marilyn Coombs (@CoombsMarilyn) September 26, 2013
— DanceTabs (@DanceTabs) September 26, 2013
Parsifal runs from 30 November – 18 December 2013. The performance on 18 December will be screened live in cinemas around the world.