It's no secret that technology plays a huge part in almost everyone's lives today, and the classical music fan is no exception to these changing times. The classical music lover can even (gasp) benefit from the changing times. We can face it that we're better off than some of us were fifty years ago. Opera has become more accessible to the masses. Tickets don't have to be purchased my waiting in long lines but now you can have prime seats with the click of a button. Voices that only existed on records the size of a dinner plate can now fit in your purse, or travel with you to school, to work, or on that cardio machine you try to avoid. That in mind, opera has had many recent new openings on the mobile front, in particular, Apple IPhones and IPods. With the Met (finally) releasing some of its HD transmissions on to ITunes, (For a hefty price I may add...) and new classical recordings coming out everyday, opera has never adapted better.
Now, if you already have a few of your favorite operas loaded up on your IPod/ IPhone and you want more, you have come to the right place! I have constructed a list out of the best applications for the IPod bearing opera lover! At first glimpse, you may think, "Opera apps exist?" to which I respond to you "Yes! They do and they're awesome!" because I speak in loud, impassioned phrases! Huzzah!
So I've narrowed my selection of apps down into a few categories, listing between three and five apps for each category, with the "best" app as number one!
So let's begin:
Our first category is Opera House Apps:
I've decided to start with opera houses because these can be a touchstone for a local resident of an important opera house. I've also decided not to list these apps from best to worst, because each works differently. So the numbers next to them mean nothing.
3. San Diego Opera App
As apps go, this one is by far one of the most user friendly apps. It's easy to look at with its vivid blues and has a very intuitive design, easily allowing the user to move through the app to watch videos, look at performance schedules (Salome on Friday!), and see pictures from past performances. Highly recommended!
2. English National Opera App
This eclectic opera company's app is a little harder to use, as you must have internet access and sometimes it doesn't read the access, but it is a good app for a local, while it still offers features for the outsider like videos and such.
1. Royal Opera House App
This easy to use app is perfect for the opera fan as well as the anglophile(I happen to be both)! It's set up like a menu, which will take you to the parts of you want to go to, including videos and a list of the ENTIRE season's offerings. Not an app to be missed!
While some opera houses have adapted to this new media, some opera houses have released specifically IPad apps, like the Met's, and houses like the Scala and the Vienna State Opera are yet to emerge into this mobile craze. If anyone from the opera world who works with an appless company is reading this, I urge you to create an app for your opera house!
Now we move on to informational Opera Apps:
This category, more so than others, is a gold mine of choices. There are many AMAZING apps for this purpose!
Now I will do the lesser to greater countdown, so let's start with Number 5:
5. Opera Buffs
Welcome to a rather counterproductive opera app where you get more points if you get answers wrong about which composers composed which opera after another, finally allowing you to see a poster of a frequently obscure French opera. Enjoy.
4. Opera Quiz
Yes this app is called Opera Quiz, and yes that's all it is. This app is a fun pastime when you feel like you're ready to test your opera aptitude. Questions vary from "Who Composed La Traviata?" to "Name what opera this piece is from _(Insert piece here)_"
This is your one stop shop for any classical performance. This app covers ballet, opera, and other classical concerts. It tells you when and where they are. Perfect for that spur of the moment traveler!
This app with all its information about every type of opera is truly outstanding. It works in tandem with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has mounds off information. You can search anything about operas, composers, and even librettists! This app is ideal for any opera lover!
This is, in my opinion, the greatest opera app on the market. It does weigh in at a hefty $4.99 though, so I must have been in some type of trance when I bought it. This app has it all. Operas, composers, a place to log all the love opera's you have seen, including casts and production team. It also has a list of the world's greatest theaters and their seasons. I highly encourage you to purchase this app. It's totally worth the high cost and you will not regret it.
Opera Libretti Apps:
There isn't much in the opera libretto translation world on mobile devices, except a WONDERFUL series of opera libretti by the company Intermundia. There are currently about 25 different libretto of mostly standard repertory works. The one caveat is that almost all in not all the operas translated are only Italian operas, with the exception of Carmen and Carmina Burana (Strange choice, I think). These are $2.99 each and totally worth the price. Each app includes a full libretto, translation, summary and history of the opera and some pictures. There are truly fantastic!
Our final category is Miscellaneous Opera Apps:
This app will make you the most uncomfortable as you control opera caricatures of Pavarotti and another random woman as they "sing" names of Italian food to disjointed orchestra music. You can even make them stand up straight or slouch, or change the scene. This app would be best suited to induce vomiting in babies and small animals. It's that scary.
This is a hysterical app best suited for casual gatherings of opera lovers. This app includes a woman singing various phrases like "Yes ,yes, yes!" and "Don't make me use my OPERA voice!" in a very funny stereotypical opera voice. It's one of my favorites!
Enjoy all these apps opera fans! While some may be a little pricey, most are totally worth the cost and will definitely teach everyone something new about opera!