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Like many CM enthusiasts, I did not like opera (actually, classical singing in general) when I first started listening simply because I wasn't used to the style of singing.
I think this is an important factor since several decades. Almost everyone in the western world has grown up with "microphone crooning" since the 1950s or so.
As for the question in the title, I do not think that most lovers of classical music do not like opera. There is, however, some sorting into opera lovers who love opera much more than most other music (and they tend to congregate in separate fora or subfora) and those who prefer non-operatic classical music. But I think the subgroup who doesn't like opera at all is rather small.

I can't get into most bel canto, verismo, and Baroque opera (with some exceptions) because not only is the music often repetitive, I find the plots to be contrived. I tried listening to Tales of Hoffmann the other day and just couldn't get past the ridiculous stuff I had to accept in order to enjoy it.
To be fair, Les contes d'Hoffmann does not belong to any of the three categories you mentioned before ;) and it is almost post-modern besides maybe also ridiculous.
I like opera but I don't like it so much on recordings and I am too lazy/too poor to attend it frequently in the theatre, so I don't listen a lot to opera in the last years. And there are lots of operas I don't much care for and some opera fans (especially those obsessed with singers) are a bit ridiculous, so I would also understand people not being keen on some typical online opera discussions, despite liking the art form.
 

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Hopefully this isn't kicking the anthill, but I consider opera and vocal music a sub category of classical music. I'm not particularly a fan of vocal music as the style is difficult for me to enjoy. I've been a musician for my entire adult life so to me the skill required is immediately evident, but the stylistic conventions are difficult for me to enjoy. That said, I don't like *not liking* things, so I try things to expand my horizons. In the past year I've made some progress in that I've found a few choral works I now enjoy listening to, and I find myself enjoying the final movement of Mahler 4 which would never have flown in the past.

In the past year I bought some DVDs of Mozart's operas and have been chipping away at them. I now can say that I enjoy the Magic Flute and just yesterday watched the first act if Don Giovanni for the first time ever. So while I don't consider myself a fan of opera, I may one day at least be able to enjoy it from time to time.
 

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I've never been a regular listener of opera. Leider or art song is in a similar category for me. I do enjoy choral music with operatic soloists. The bulk of my classical listening is orchestral, chamber and solo piano. Although I prefer instrumental, I also listen to a fair amount of music with vocals in old jazz, rock and pop.

With regards to the question "Do most listeners of classical music not like opera?" my answer is a probable yes. Critic Robert Thicknesse has written extensively about this issue:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/may/27/falling-out-of-love-opera

This attracted some discussion at the time:

The boss of one of the major Parisian opera houses told me the opera houses in Paris cater to the same 50,000 people year in, year out: that's 2% of the population of inner Paris, and a mere 0.5% of the urban region of Paris.

Incidentally, Thicknesse is a devotee of opera, but has criticised the funding models associated with it.
 

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I find it difficult to get into opera (or even art songs or cantatas. although choirs are easier for me) because it seems like they're singing out of tune in most almost every recording I find. Maybe not super out of tune, but a quarter tone away
 

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I enjoy very little opera, as it’s all about the music for me, but have seen numerous productions of the following:

1. Parsifal
2. Meistersingers
3. Gotterdammerung
4. Tristan
5. Wozzeck

What brings me back to the above is that the ROH generally put on a production of them all every 3-5 years, and the narrative storylines are so strong, which makes the acting, however wooden, at least bearable.

I do love listening to Boulez’ definitive version of Berg’s Lulu, as my moniker would already have indicated, and Lintu’s recent recording of Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten.
 

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Just as there are composers who devoted their entire career to opera, there is an opera audience which may not devote much time to other Classical music. But this does not account for everybody. My guess is that most Classical music listeners have given some attention to opera, if for no other reason than some of the greatest composers and music are found in opera. Think Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart.

So I'd have to say that I think it is probably not true that "most" Classical music listeners don't like opera. But their interest may only extend to a few works or one or two composers.
 

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We also made a poll last year that seems like 16% said their favorite genre is opera or incidental. It's pretty consistently my favorite genre of music.

That said, I don't like *not liking* things, so I try things to expand my horizons.
I like liking things, but I wouldn't base my expansion on genres that are recommended, like opera. I have no problem for example ignoring Haydn or Schubert despite everyone saying I shouldn't. It's more important to broadly explore the unique works and styles that might interest you more, even just out of intellectual curiosity.
 
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Just as there are composers who devoted their entire career to opera, there is an opera audience which may not devote much time to other Classical music. But this does not account for everybody. My guess is that most Classical music listeners have given some attention to opera, if for no other reason than some of the greatest composers and music are found in opera. Think Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart.

So I'd have to say that I think it is probably not true that "most" Classical music listeners don't like opera. But their interest may only extend to a few works or one or two composers.
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
 

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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
Maybe those reasons explain your dislike of opera, if in fact you dislike opera. But the items on your list are the very reasons I find opera very interesting:

Vocal music of all kinds is my favorite music.

Music drama is my favorite genre, including opera, musical theater, and story/narrative songs.

I ignore the "star-system" and have my own favorite singers.

Buying an opera CD or DVD is not more expensive than buying a multi-CD set.
 

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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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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.)
Both of this applies to a lot of music and to most non-operatic classical music, insofar it applies at all. (It's doubtful to which extent it applies to the provincial/small operas all over Germany and Austria which is usually cheaper than popular music star concerts or modern musicals). And we know that opera is ridiculous since the Marx brothers and similar jokes but it apparently didn't hurt that much until the late 20th century.

3. It is vocal, and people react strongly to voice - I think voices and violins are the two most divisive things in classical music
Yes. This should work both ways because many people who have grown up with popular music are also puzzled by purely instrumental music but as I wrote above, we have now almost 3 generations who think that crooning into a microphone is "natural singing" and therefore can have problems with classical singing styles/voices.

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
This can be a problem but I think these are aspects of final decadence that came only after an earlier decline of opera. (Opera clearly has been declining for about 100 years but that's similar with the rest of classical music so it also should not be the main point.) Again, some people apparently think they can draw a new or different audience this way but that's doubtful as it is largely an in-crowd who appreciate such stagings (predictably "provocative"/controversial" but not for that crowd).
 

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I like opera, or at least the music that comes with opera, but the problem I have is the practical issue of time management. I've always wanted to ask Wagner fans one question: where do you have the time? I had several bleeding chunks discs before I finally took the plunge and bought the acclaimed Furtwangler/Philharmonia (EMI) recording of Tristan. I might break it out once every 1-2 years (that long gap has only increased over the years), and usually have to divide it over 3 days. Furthermore, work and family might not allow for 3 consecutive days of Wagner, which means I'll skip a day or two before I resume listening, the momentum of the music and recording gets lost, and my deteriorating memory does not help matters. In the same amount of time I could listen to a bunch of Beethoven symphonies, Mozart concertos, Brahms chamber works, Stravinsky ballet suites, Scriabin piano sonatas, etc. The cost/benefit analysis does not work in the favor of opera. To be candid, I might find a good performance of the Prelude and Liebestod more powerful than listening to Tristan in its entirety, if I had the time, because I can listen to it all without interruption and the flow of the music does not get lost.

In addition, operas are theater pieces, which opens up a whole can of worms re: how much of this music really holds up on its own if separated from the theatrical and visual elements. Anyhow, I do like opera, but at my age I'm starting to realize that there's only so much music I'll be able to listen to and really get to know well. I can't hear it all, and I have to make choices.
 

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Actually, it would help me a lot if I understood the languages (Italian, German, French, etc), perhaps I could find a way for opera to reach me. English opera is good, Gilbert & Sullivan is pleasing to my ear. It's in my English frame of reference. I am not a good judge of operatic emotion, and that is acquired over time.

Simply said, I guess it's all Greek to me! <smiles>
 

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Wagner is a bit of an extreme case. But if you are single or a young childless couple or an elderly couple, it doesn't matter so much if on Friday or Saturday night you go to the movies, clubbing or to the opera. Opera does not necessarily take up more time. IF and only if you have the opera in your city or in a similar distance you would also drive/travel for cinema or other entertainment. Even with a family this can work with a babysitter. This is the way it used to me in many European cities, even some middle-sized towns. Of course, this changes, if opera necessitates an expensive weekend trip because it is too far away.
 

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Both of this applies to a lot of music and to most non-operatic classical music, insofar it applies at all. (It's doubtful to which extent it applies to the provincial/small operas all over Germany and Austria which is usually cheaper than popular music star concerts or modern musicals). And we know that opera is ridiculous since the Marx brothers and similar jokes but it apparently didn't hurt that much until the late 20th century.

.
Yes there is a cultural element in this which I haven't explored. I think in Fellini's La Strada there's a scene where they go into a small time bar full of peasants and everyone's singing arias as they drink their grappa.
 

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Yes. This should work both ways because many people who have grown up with popular music are also puzzled by purely instrumental music but as I wrote above, we have now almost 3 generations who think that crooning into a microphone is "natural singing" and therefore can have problems with classical singing styles/voices.
Yes it's a strange thing and I don't understand it. I've just noticed that voice is divisive, a voice I love someone else can hate and there's no obvious reason for the responses.
 

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This can be a problem but I think these are aspects of final decadence that came only after an earlier decline of opera. (Opera clearly has been declining for about 100 years but that's similar with the rest of classical music so it also should not be the main point.) Again, some people apparently think they can draw a new or different audience this way but that's doubtful as it is largely an in-crowd who appreciate such stagings (predictably "provocative"/controversial" but not for that crowd).
It is true that some sorts of staging gets bums on seats -- especially gay staging. We saw this recently in London with a production of Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus, and I guess the Don Carlos I mentioned had the same effect in Berlin. To what extent a straight (sexually) production is a route to commercial success is not obvious to me -- my feeling is that no, it isn't.
 

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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!
 
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