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There are lots of reasons not to like opera:

1. It is expensive and snobby
2. It all turns around a star system (this is my biggest beef with opera, I hate the star system.)
3. It is vocal, and people react strongly to voice - I think voices and violins are the two most divisive things in classical music
4. It is theatrical, and the setting can be a problem. I've seen Fidelio on stilts, gay S&M porn in the auto da fe scene in Don Carlos, Siegfried and Gunther sharing a needle, the Drum Major sodomising Marie in front of her child (Wozzek), and others which I prefer to forget
It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that of these 1. and 2. all have to do with the structures built around operas, and not the operas themselves. 3. is baffling to me, why would you want art that people don't react strongly to? Finally, 4. seems to be exclusively because some modern directors are, well, errr, to put it kindly, self-important.

I would just watch older productions of operas. The stars are long since dead and no longer marketed, nothing obviously idiotic happens in the theatrics, the singing is almost always better, and such DVD's are available cheaply.
 

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For me Classical music is MUSIC not singing or song, which I had in my pop days. I want pure music without words or the human voice.
Music is psychological to me in affect, without words to help or guide me. But still the music makes sense ie tonal music.
I have some vocal music, but only from favourite composers, and very little opera.
Pure music has a very powerful affect on me, very different from the great writers and poets I grew up with ie Literature.
I think wordy people like myself may be more moved by pure music than those who are musical themselves and take it for granted.
As for opera itself, it is only music theatre ,and I am not a fan of theatre. I prefer documentaries to fictionalised drama, which is often very improbable or one-sided.
Music for me is just that-MUSIC!
If you want song, choral or opera that is a different world.
The best music I have found is Classical Music, and I speak as an outsider!
I think this is a big misunderstanding of opera. Opera is music first and foremost and theatre second. Beyond stylistic differences in the music, I would argue this is the key factor distinguishing opera from musical theatre. There is, of course, a theatrical component to opera, but even this is developed by the music; the characters and their nuances, the plot and its emotional subtleties, and even, sometimes, the setting, are elaborated upon by the music and the singing and not the other way around.

Maria Callas, possibly the greatest operatic actress we have film of was once asked how to act in opera. Her response was to simply listen to the music.

Someone else I believe mentioned this earlier in the thread, but this is the reason we credit the composer as having written the opera and not the librettist, as in the case of stage dramas, or the director, as in the case of films.
 
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