Some of the big opera houses use surtitles, but the trick is, the surtitles are usually in the language of the country you're in, so that's no help unless you speak the language of your host country.
Opera lovers (and I am not one) tell me that if you need a translation you're an opera rookie and probably shouldn't be there in the first place. The die hards know the English librettos cold, so it doesn't make any difference to them what language it's being sung in, or what language the surtitles are in.
I have hysterical memories of being more or less dragged to see Faust in Leningrad in 1974. Sung in Russian, no surtitles. After the overture the curtain rose, Faust strode to a huge globe, pointed to it and sang "Nyet!!"
We were traveling with friends, and my friend Paul and I looked at each other and we both got the giggles. Our wives were ready to kill us. There was nothing that was sung or done that didn't make us giggle more. It is a five act opera. Others told me the last four acts were lovely. Paul and I were in the bar across the street. We toasted every act. Several times.
One of my great dreams when I return to Venice is to go to the Teatro La Fenice (it was still in the process of being rebuilt after the fire when I was there in 2002) and see a production..I understand you can rent a device that translate into English thru headphones, the Opera and I was just curious if any CM'ers knew about this
My parents insisted that I take Latin in school for two reasons ...my Dad indicated it would help my writing ..and it was required if you wanted to be an alter boy (goes to show you how old I am)...of course when the Mass was switched to English it became academic..of course it is helpful to have the Latin background since I have grown to love Venice, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have learned Spanish
I forgot about the evil characters in Rocky and Bullwinkle...I wonder if there is a connection
Sure there's a connection. The Russian bad guy in Rocky, Boris Badinov, was an obvious twist on Boris Goudinov.
You'll love the Fenice. As I said, I'm not an opera fan but I am a theater fan. I literelly "collect" theaters and am desperately in love with the best of them all over the world. We visited the Fenice in late 2006. Couldn't catch a performance, but they have a very good self-guided audio tour of the place during the day. They did a terrific job with the restoration, despite being in Italy, and I think you'll agree that this place is in the top rank of beautiful theaters. Our friend Bryan played a benefit concert there shortly before we visited (piano) and he confirms that the acoustics match the beauty.
I would also like to return to La Scala. We got a box for a ballet there shortly before the restoration began. It was still a stunning place (although a bit threadbare), so I imagine the restored version must be a jaw-dropper. It was very cool to have a box at La Scala all to ourselves. Just amazing.