– WITH VIDEO – by Grant Bailey
Millions of Brits have NEVER been to the opera because they consider it ‘too posh’, ‘too long’ – and many don’t even know when to clap, a study found.
A fear over when it is acceptable to go to the toilet and concerns over what to wear, are also among reasons for never sampling the delights of the late great Luciano Pavarotti and his peers.
The performance ‘being full of words that are difficult to understand’ is also a major stumbling block.
Two thirds of those who took part in the study for Classic Fm said they simply weren’t into opera, while 30 per cent reckoned it’s ‘too expensive’.
Shockingly, half of those polled couldn’t name a single opera singer, with just one in five recognising Pavarotti.
More than half even said they wouldn’t dream of watching the opera if it was on TV.
Sam Jackson, Classic FM’s managing editor, said: “Despite Classic FM’s success in democratising classical music since our inception 25 years ago, opera is still viewed as elitist and we want to dispel that myth.
“Our research shows that while people worry that opera might be dull and too intellectual for them, many would love to go. “That’s why we’ve created these ‘opera shorts’, making the storylines accessible and appealing to a modern audience.”
Classic FM has modernised three of the best-known operas, Carmen, La bohème and The Barber of Seville, creating three short animated films, which are narrated by Johnny Vaughan.
The 30-second ‘opera shorts’ are designed to break down some of the perceived barriers to this classical form, making the storylines more accessible to a contemporary audience.
The study of 2,000 adults by OnePoll.com found that of those who have sat through an opera performance, one in ten felt nervous, self-conscious and like they didn’t fit in.
As a result, casual clothing, mainstream venues and an app to follow the plot would persuade more people to attend.
Half would be more likely to consider a night at the opera if ticket prices were cheaper while one quarter would attend if it was translated into English.
And 15 per cent would rather ditch extravagant tales of sorrow and seduction for more every day, relatable subjects.
But while the average opera-goer will travel 37 miles to see a performance, 43 per cent would be most likely to go if the theatre was local to them.
One in ten loved the idea of a blockbuster show at London’s mammoth O2 Arena – usually the stage of the biggest pop, rock, sporting and comedy shows on the planet.
It also emerged that while Carmen and Madame Butterfly emerged as the most popular shows, less than one in ten had an opera they would call their favourite.
Instead, eight in ten say they didn’t have a favourite opera.
But 14 per cent would like to see modern-day dramas Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones made into shows.
One in ten would even like to see “I Griffin” – the Family Guy opera.
A lack of love for the opera doesn’t necessarily mean Brits don’t know their shows though – almost 70 per cent knew Carmen and Madame Butterfly to be famous operas.
And half of respondents have heard of La Traviata, The Barber of Seville and La Boheme.
Johnny Vaughan, who narrates Classic FM’s short films, said: “There are some fantastic operatic storylines which have more drama, romance and intrigue than a whole hour of Brexit negotiations.
“Alright I’m exaggerating a bit, but it’s important to cut through the stereotypes that surround classical music and opera and give people the chance to enjoy it, which is why the ‘opera shorts’ trilogy is such a great idea.”