Opera alert!

Opera is best viewed from furniture like this offering from the Diary of a Smart Chick website

I had a lovely time watching an opera one Sunday morning from the comfort of my couch. Looks like I’ll have another opportunity this weekend as Eight, Arizona PBS airs a Metropolitan Opera performance of “Il Trovatore,” Verdi’s tale of two brothers wooing the same woman.

When I’m ready to make the move from couch to cinema, I can head to the UltraLuxe Scottsdale Cinemas (located at The Pavilions at Talking Stick) for Opera Australia performances of works that include “Rigoletto” (your last chance is Thurs, Aug 25 at 7pm), “Mikado” (Sept), “”Der Rosenkavalier” (Oct) and “La Boheme” (Nov).

The Elixer of Love performed by San Francisco Opera

Or I can drive up the road to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to enjoy a bit of their “Grand Opera Cinema Series,” featuring works performed by the San Francisco Opera. First up is “The Elixer of Love” on Oct 26 — then “Tosca” (Jan), “Lucia di Lammermoor” (March) and “La boheme” (June).

Broadway aficianados know that the musical “Rent” is based on the “La Boheme” story, making this a “must see” opera for musical theater fans. The “Opera in Cinema” series at select Harkins Theatres includes a live simulcast production of “La Boheme” in March.

Other “Opera in Cinema” offerings this season include “Faust” (Sept), “Don Giovanni” (Dec) and “Rigoletto” (April). There’s also a “Ballet in Cinema” series — with titles that include “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Coppelia,” “Swan Lake” and more.

Madama Butterfly is one of five offerings in the Arizona Opera 2011-12 season

There’s no substitute for the experience of live opera and Valley families have several options, including performances by Arizona Opera and Phoenix Opera — as well as university opera programs like Lyric Opera Theatre at ASU in Tempe.

Arizona Opera, which performs in both Phoenix and Tucson, opens its 2011-12 season in October with two offerings — “Cavalleria Rustica” and “Pagliacci.” Other season selections include “Faust” (Nov), “Madama Butterfly” (Jan/Feb), “Aida” (March) and “Orfeo ed Euridice” (April). (The tale of Aida is also told in a Broadway musical.)

This season’s calendar for Phoenix Opera includes several themed performances, including holiday offerings celebrating Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Love/s Labour/s Lost is part of the Opera in Cinema series

If you’re new to opera or eager to up your opera game, spend a little quality time with the multimedia guide “How to Enjoy Opera” recently published by “The Guardian.” Or watch a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” online (for free) through Sept 12.

“The Guardian” offers additional primers, including a list of The Top 50 Operas from 1607 to 1978, a tutorial on how to survive your first opera and a look at opera in the modern age. Plus Simon Callow’s take on why “opera has never been more alive.”

Online opera guides from Arizona Opera and other opera companies are also fun to explore. Never say you don’t like opera if you’ve never tried it.

— Lynn

Coming up: ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre

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