Sometimes people fall into an Opera quite by accident.  If you think you are in an Opera, be calm.  Do not flail.  Keep your voice down.  Stop arguing.

However, it’s sometimes hard to determine whether you’re in an Opera or not.  So we’ve designed these seven easy indicators that you should refer to frequently in case you feel like you may have fallen into one.

1.     You happen to be a scoundrel, a tart, a supernatural figure, or a powerful, but waning despot, or you are in the room with these people.  And they are well-dressed.
2.     Conversations seem to go on and on.  People repeat themselves over and over again, only changing their emphasis on certain words.  Only changing their EMPHASIS on certain words.
3.     You are betrayed over the course of a few days—this will usually involve a love triangle or power triangle.  Just to be certain you know a love triangle when you see it: someone is infatuated with you, while you are in love with someone unattainable; that person is usually a scoundrel, a married person, or a cold, cold heart.
4.     You find it impossible to state your case or defend yourself in less than two hours—and may evolve into a rant, a melodic rant, but a rant nonetheless.
5.     One thing after another happens to you in rapid fashion—so many twists you’d think your life was in braid.
6.     Something explodes around you that doesn’t stop anyone from talking, but actually increases the volume and the speed at which they talk.
7.     Someone, often yourself, dies.

So, if you find yourself dying after an explosion, caused by a betrayal, looking fantastic in a suit or ball gown, as the product of a love triangle that included chatty people—some of them royal, or supernatural, you might be in an Opera.

Stay calm.

The best thing to do is exit gracefully, forcefully, with a spoken plan.  If you can speak another plausible future for yourself, away from the dizzying melodic maelstrom you have gotten yourself into, the audience will believe you.  You can then walk out of this scene, and most certainly live.

If however, you are in a comic opera, and you’re single (which you have to be in a comic opera, I’d think) then you could end up with a husband or a wife.  The clincher is whether there is loudly-stated pride (LSP) followed by acute tragic betrayal (ATB).  If there is ATB, you are in a tragedy---run.  If you can avoid stating your pride or arrogance to a room full of people, you can steer yourself into a comedy.  If you’re in a comedy, and you are hoping for a nice husband or wife, enjoy yourself.  Become a coloratura just for fun.

However, you might be in what is known as a tragic-comic opera---

The only way to explain this one is… to show you. 

MANON, by Massenet, is such a tragic-comic opera.  “Manon is Massenet's most popular and enduring opera and, having ‘quickly conquered the world's stages’, it has maintained an important place in the repertory since its creation. It is the quintessential example of the charm and vitality of the music and culture of the Parisian Belle Époque.”  So says Wikipedia who also puts this creation around 11,000BC and says the opera includes live elephants.

We can believe part of it.  Manon is referred to as an opera comique.  Everyone falls in love with Manon, who’s on her way to a convent.  (Yeah, bad timing.)  And she has a case of rethinking the convent, perhaps to fall in love.  And then people fight over her, and she falls in love with the wrong guy, and goes to a ball, and then she gets ARRESTED.  She was going for the “pure” look and ended up the tart.  And yet, there’s a rescue plan—and well, I won’t reveal more.  The comic part is one thing after another happening.  The tragic part—well, you know what that is.  (Oh, wait. Where do the live elephants come in?  Wikipedia??)

Come see it happen---this is how you will recognize, for SURE, that you are in an opera.  

Anna Netrebko, after playing Anna Bolena, is back.  You’ll love her voice, and that dress.

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 1pm.  Manon tickets are on sale at the box office, 667-8574, through Arts Underground, or online at