Last year I attended the Fairies, Phantoms and Fiends Heber Opera concert, mainly to watch my wife, Caz, perform. I had never watched opera before, and I guess I was thinking that I might not enjoy it very much, but nevertheless I was willing to give it a go!
I have to say I was extremely impressed with the whole performance and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the things I liked the most was listening to Michael Withers give explanations to the background and positioning of each individual piece, which helped me to understand and enjoy the music in the correct context! This made me keen to attend the next Heber Opera production, The Pearl Fishers, to experience my first ever full opera performance. Being an opera newbie, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Whilst the principals were engaging and brought the story to life, the parts I enjoyed the most were when the whole ensemble sang together. The harmony of the voices combined with the passion of their performance made it a truly emotional experience, probably enhanced by the fact that the performers were so close to the audience due to Heber’s practise of performing in the round. In particular the betrayal scene in Act 2 where the voices rise to a crescendo, crying out to Brahma, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!
My first opera experience has been so positive that I would definitely attend further performances.