Suggested ground rules + reviewing tips

Dear member, thanks for reading or posting a review in this forum.

This forum is for reviews of live (and in principle, recent) opera performances, either the ones you attend personally at the opera house, or the ones you see in direct broadcasts from a live performance (Met Live in HD, Glyndebourne online streaming, Medici TV broadcasts, Covent Garden/Liceu/La Scala cinema broadcasts, etc.). For recorded opera on CD, DVD, and blu-ray disc (even when the recording is of a live performance), there is a separate forum. For YouTube clips, there is also a separate forum, so please, only post here reviews of truly live shows and broadcasts (some delay is tolerated - e.g., you see the Encore presentation of Met Live in HD several days later the live broadcast - it's still OK to post your review here; or you see a Medici TV or Met Player pay-per-view file several days or weeks after the live broadcast - it's still OK.

This is not a forum for announcements of future live shows, performances, and streaming (there is also a separate forum for that). It's not for general chit-chat either, although you should feel free to reply to reviews with comments and/or add to the original poster's review.

This post contains tips and suggestions for reviewing opera, but should be truly seen as merely a suggestion: feel free to ignore these tips completely if you prefer your own style; we welcome all contributions regardless of the style, and also regardless of the level of expertise of the reviewer - from beginners, to seasoned. Reviews as simple as "I attended the current Traviata at the Met and liked it" or as complex as a detailed analysis of every aspect of a show with several paragraphs - and everything in-between - are all welcome.

The above are just suggested ground rules to keep Opera Lively organized, but shouldn't discourage you from posting even if you don't know if your content is appropriate to this specific forum. In doubt, just post anyway. The worst that can happen is that a moderator will move your post to a more appropriate forum, and it's no big deal; nobody will blame you for it; we are all nice and friendly people here, so, post at will.

Reviews can be as long or short as you like, and you could include some or all of the following aspects (or not; again, if you just want to post a brief paragraph/comment, feel free, as well):

The opera:

  • History, background, performance history, composer's style, place of the piece in the composer's body of works
  • Music: overture, arias, duets, ensembles, choruses, recitative, orchestration
  • Construction of the work: pace, structure, flow
  • Plot, libretto
  • If you feel like including a synopsis, feel free to do so, but don't copy synopsis from other sites which could be seen as copyright violation

This particular production

  • Credits (name the orchestra, chorus, conductors, cast)
  • Musical execution: conducting, orchestral playing, singers, chorus
  • Staging: directorial approach, acting and blocking, scenery, costumes, ballets, lighting
  • Your overall impression (or your rating - see grade suggestions below), recommended?


Here is a suggestion for a grading system if you care for rating the production you are reviewing:

A++ Highly recommended (practically flawless, seemingly perfect)
A+ Very recommended with strong production and musical values all around but a couple of rare flaws
A Recommended, with strong musical values and some high production points but some areas to improve
A- Recommended, but with many areas to improve
B+ Barely recommended (but please understand that it is still recommended, so, it should be seen)
B Enjoyable for some sectors of the viewing public (such as fans of a particular performer who does well)
B- Not recommended unless one has time to kill and no better performances to see, given the rare pros
C Definitely not recommend. A failed production. Nothing good about it. No need for + or - nuances
D Atrocious, offensive and/or revolting. Well, we don't bother with reviewing those and we regret the time and money spent with them