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You Should Give Opera A Listen. It's Different Than You May Think

Noah Stern Weber
LA Opera
Soldier Songs

Have you ever been to the opera? I know, you think it's stuffy and formal and only for rich, white people of a certain age. You're wrong. 

Opera has been around for a long time but it never caught on in America like it did in Europe. The big grand opera houses, elaborate sets and performances about gods, courtesans, and kings rode a wave of popularity in the 20th century but no longer resonate for a 21st century audience that has multiple options on how to spend their time.

Opera has to change - or else.  

And it is. Today's operas are tackling contemporary issues with diverse casts in smaller, more intimate theaters and pop-ups that don't require a season ticket to attend. Take a look at Hopscotch Opera or Beth Morrison Projects  or Pop-Up Opera if you need convincing. They're just the tip of the iceberg.  


  • Heidi Waleson - Opera critic for the Wall Street Journal, faculty member of the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the author of Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America. (@hwopera)
  • Marc Scorca - President and CEO of Opera America (@operaAmerica
  • Nadine Sierra - American opera singer who regularly performs at leading opera houses like the Metropolitan Opera and The Paris Opera. She just released her debut album, “There’s a Place for Us.” (@nadinecsierra)

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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