Opera strips: opera becomes comics

There is a connection between opera and comics? Why preferring strips to communicate an opera? How can comics help in opera experience?

Strips seem to be very useful to enlarge opera audience and to communicate the opera’s plot. In fact they are funny and young related and at the same time they are easy to read and to comprehend. Opera plots can be communicated in a very simple and immediate way, so people can understand better what happens in the stage and have a better opera experience.

Here are three cases of the use of strips to promote a theatre production.

  • If this summer you’re planning to go to Bayreuth Festival in order to see Wagner’s Ring don’t you aspect to see a “naturalistic” representation of the opera: Nibelungs are acting in a sixties America, near petrol pumps, bars, post offices etc. How much will you understand of the opera’s plot? Bayreuth (as any other theatre) will help you by selling you a huge libretto where you can read a boring synopsis of the story. The solution? If you go to com you’ll find an amazing strips adaptation of the entire Ring of the Nibelungs and of a lot of other operas. They have been posted since the end of the last year and now the website is recommended by some of the most important music organizations in the word, such as London Philarmonic Orchestra and English National Opera.
  • Sometimes, Portland Opera invites some cartoonists to come and watch one of their rehearsals and draw whatever they want. In the last opera season the theatre invited them to see Don Giovanni’s rehearsals. Among them there was Mike Russel, that drew a “live comics adaptation” of the show. If you visit org, you’ll find dozens of sketches of other artists — all of them reacting in completely different ways to what happened onstage.
  • On the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi the Teatro Comunale of Modena, announced the publishing of a book series made ​​up of four numbers dedicated to the most important works of Verdi. They are combined with 2 CDs containing original tunes performed by great performers. Verdi Comics have been sold in the newsstands and presented the following Verdi’s works: La Traviata, Macbeth, Othello, Aida.

Organizations’ marketing goals are very different. Sinfini Music is a music related on-line newspaper that aims to create new content that could be useful for his readers who need to understand opera plots; Portland Opera aims to increase the public and to improve his image; the Teatro Comunale of Modena aims to create an initiative in order to celebrate the great Verdi in his anniversary.

But all this initiatives have in common the fact that they create a mashup of pulp and classical art that can enlarge and rejuvenate the public.


Francesco Zanibellato



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