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Learn English with this opera English lesson

Date: Jul 22 2013

Themes: Music

Grammar: Verbs with "-ing"


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Have you ever been to an opera? It’s quite a production. The singers practice for months, the set is built by hand, and the costumes and makeup are carefully chosen. A lot of time and effort goes into performing an opera for an audience.

Interest in opera may be on the decline, though. Unless you have an opera lover in your family, chances are you’ve never seen one. Is that OK? Is it the music of a different generation, or should people of all ages find out about opera?

Listen to Mason and Greta discuss the future of opera in this English lesson about a musical tradition.





1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Mason:  You know, I did something the other day that I haven’t done in a really long time. I actually went to go see an opera.

Greta:  Really?

Mason:  My dad invited me. He had tickets and I was like, “OK, sure! Maybe I’ll be a cultured person.” Turns out that opera is definitely one of those things that I like the idea of much more than I like actually doing.

Greta:  I have this image in my head that it’s like way over the top. It’s like a big lady wearing a Viking helmet singing an aria. Just belting it out to the nosebleed seats! It’s full of melodrama, but it’s in a different language so you don’t understand most of what’s happening.

Mason:  It needs to find a way to be relevant again, which I don’t even know if it even can. The whole nature of the singing is so different than the way that voices are in pop music. There probably was a time that more people appreciated the vocal talent because that was like, “Hey, wow! Those people can do those crazy things.” But now? We have Auto-Tune.


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Mason surprises Greta by telling her that he went to an opera with his father. Greta says that the picture she has in her mind about opera is a production full of melodrama, with people singing in a language she doesn’t understand. Mason admits that he didn’t like the opera as much as he hoped that he would.

Mason believes that more people liked opera in the past because they understood how hard it is to sing that way and sing well. He also thinks that opera is so different from pop music today that it’s difficult for operas to get big audiences. Mason feels that musicians need to find a way for operas to make sense to people living in 2013.

It doesn’t sound like Greta or Mason will be seeing any more operas. How do you feel about opera? Is it too different from your everyday life, or do you appreciate it anyway? What’s your favorite opera?



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YbelousoSuper Member!

Russian Federation

I have been in the opera one time, for me it’s better to see operetta. It’s like opera , but there are actors who not only sing like in the opera, but still just talk. it’s better for me, because I understand what’s happening on stage

11:53 AM Jul 28 2013 |




I was only once on the opera. It was “Carmen”. Actors sang in French but Polish subtitles were screened above the stage and I understood everything what happened. It was a contact with living art and I was impressed even I didnt expect that I liked it. It was amazing experience. But the opera isnt art mass and sometimes tickets cost too much and it means that many people dont have chance to watch the opera on live and apreciate it. I personally prefer musicals and one of my favourite is “Phantom of the opera” :)

05:20 PM Jul 23 2013 |




opera to me its something complex .i cant even trying to listen to it becouse its not the sort of music that i like.but im sure others like it and irespect that

10:40 PM Jul 22 2013 |




Seiyf, it’s great gift to understand opera! See i grew up with it. Every month twice or three times I was taken to watch. Maybe it was too much. But I love ballet. Such a paradox :)

10:25 PM Jul 22 2013 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

It sounds like screaming for me.Actually whenever I see opera on TV,I switch the channel.

We have a singer with an opera voice,but she sings like pop music.I like her style.That’s the only favor I’m able to do for opera music.

08:50 PM Jul 22 2013 |



I havent seen an opera. It doesnt ordinary perfermance in my country. Indeed,I am not sure that there is any opera in my country or not.

I just only know it from the TV and on the internet. It is not interesting for me. I jsut get the higest tone of voice and resonate the hall with approximate 30 musicians from an opera.

07:08 PM Jul 22 2013 |

1 person likes this



I Think Opera’s a spiritual music can Help Us To Listen to our hearts beating , and to Relieve , so I would like one day to Watch an Opera Live , It’s could be good experience :) 

03:20 PM Jul 22 2013 |

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South Korea

I think opera’s story and performance is quite far from reality. I don’t know anything of opera such as when it generated, what the most popular opera is in the world, what the opera’s about, why the singers have to sing through a different langauge which the most of people cannot understand, etc…

May be I have to learn how to understand and appreciate it by anyone’s help, if any chance for me.

02:42 PM Jul 22 2013 |




I’m sorry to admit I don’t like opera. Or I’d rather put in this way – I don’t understand it. Maybe because it’s coming back when my parents used to take me to watch a masterpiece and I was struggling to stay awake during the performance. Yes, the magic voices were like a lullaby to me. Though if I go to opera, I’ll pick the Mozart’s ones.

 Pa – Pa – Pa – Pa – Pa – Pa – Papagena! (Magic Flute)

11:00 AM Jul 22 2013 |


South Korea

I like to watch an opera in television instead of visiting theater. I really enjoy listening to actor’s voice. Especially, I prefer to listen to the female protaganist’s sprano voice. Even there are so many troubles in my mind, I feel inner peace soon. As you know, an opera is different from my everyday life. My favorite opera is the sound of music. It changed my life style. After watching it, I decided to learn English in order to understand a female protaganist’s song. If you get an impression of mine, please watch the opera of sound of music.  

09:27 AM Jul 22 2013 |



i’ve never been to opera before.it doesnt mean anything to me .because i know if i go there someday,i’d  get bored anyway 

06:41 AM Jul 22 2013 |

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Syrian Arab Republic

thanx Allah , no opera in my culture,,,abdlhaleem and fairooz is enough for me

03:42 AM Jul 22 2013 |

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a place where u can find a real art

01:18 AM Jul 22 2013 |

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