If the singers only sang their line once then an opera could be neatly condensed into a half an hour production.
If productions supplied subtitles or translations then far more people would actually watch the stuff. It’s a little disconcerting to spend three hours wondering what on earth is going on; even worse than joining a TV drama series halfway through its twelve week run.
Anyway, what percentage of people watching an opera actually have a clue what’s going on? Maybe they’ve read or been told a synopsis but how many can actually follow the storyline? Are the majority sitting there watching with a complete ignorance of what’s taking place in front of them for their benefit but yet leave the venue with a feeling of smug superiority for their classy cultured tastes that no doubt they’re very pleased to brag about?
Is opera about the social occasion or the production? Is it an opportunity to put on your finest glad rags and promenade oneself in the hallowed halls of a world renowned historic venue or a chance to see some of the world’s finest singers and musicians breathe life to a story and score? Is it a place to see or a place to be seen?
Opera is a nightmare for lipreaders.