Seeing an opera in NYC is the ultimate cultural experience, but that can get pretty expensive pretty fast. You don't always have to go to Metropolitan Opera or New York City Opera to take in a wonderful performance.
There are so many smaller places to visit and get all kids of experiences - from full traditional orchestra versions to contemporary concert productions. You can find yourself in a church basement, school auditorium, or a small cozy theater and be a witness to opera magic anywhere. Sometimes this way you don't only save money, but get to meet the performers and join in on the action.
Take a look at some viable options and forgo the mainstream for an evening or two:
You might not always find a production there, but when you do, make sure not to miss it. You are likely to catch an unforgettable premier there or special works that can be performed on sites other than the theater - think puppetry collaborations or Il Mondo della Luna presentation at the American Museum of Natural History. When was the last time you saw an opera in a planetarium? - This is your chance!
This theater can be found on the Upper East Side and delights guests with stage performances with an orchestra. You can attend classic opera, modern performances, and even special opera shows for kids.
This opera takes place at St. Peter's Church in Chelsea neighborhood. The works there range from classic, contemporary, and new that are performed by professional singers and a chamber orchestra. This opera is loved by seasoned opera connoisseurs and enjoyed by all who are new to this genre. We say it's one of the best places to listen to an opera and get to know it at a very little cost.
Harlem can often seem as a place where art scene is underserved, but with venues like Opera Theater, local community definitely has a nice outlet. You will hear world-renowned musical compositions alongside African-American composers of opera and spiritual performances there. The talent at the shows is seasoned or emerging, but mostly local.
This place is for Italian and French opera enthusiasts with some operettas in English. All the performances are happening on full stage and are accompanied by full orchestra. This company has been here for 40 years and is well-known and loved. You can also take in their performances at various public venues around NYC.
This theater prepares two productions every year and that's something that fans are always looking forward to - a classic opera in January and something modern and new in spring, usually May. The operas are sung in English, performed by established talented singers, full chorus, and the Orchestra of the Bronx, which has a following of its own in the community. All through the year you can catch a short concert of opera from time to time, so look out for those. Many theater singers forge amazing careers, so you never know when you will be listening to a new star in the making.
This treat for your ears is an extra perk that comes with dinner and drinks. For $35 dinner and $15 bar drinks, you can enjoy young opera singers and professional performers every Saturday night after 8pm in upstairs lounge at no extra charge. Needless to say there is plenty of intelligentsia gathering in this place to eat and mingle.
With all these options and even more small productions all over the Big Apple, you can have a taste of opera if you want to try it or become a regular at the scene that is not always following trends and rules.