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mojave

Opera glasses vs binoculars?

7 posts in this topic

Just curious, is it considered in bad taste to view an orchestral performance from the upper balcony, with full-size binoculars rather than opera glasses?

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As long as they aren't huge or "jingley" I expect that no one would care. Especially in the cheap seats.

In any event, be discreet. The up-and-down movement and elbows-out posture of someone using binoculars could end up being very annoying to those seated nearby.

In all my years of concert-going, I've seen exactly one pair of binoculars being used. I've never noticed opera being glasses used, but that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't out there somewhere. Perhaps that's the main benefit of opera glasses; they can be raised and lowered without a lot of arm movement, which would call attention to their use.

The flip side is that, with opera glasses, you'll look like a pretentious dweeb.

Rat

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As long as they aren't huge or "jingley" I expect that no one would care. Especially in the cheap seats.

In any event, be discreet. The up-and-down movement and elbows-out posture of someone using binoculars could end up being very annoying to those seated nearby.

In all my years of concert-going, I've seen exactly one pair of binoculars being used. I've never noticed opera being glasses used, but that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't out there somewhere. Perhaps that's the main benefit of opera glasses; they can be raised and lowered without a lot of arm movement, which would call attention to their use.

The flip side is that, with opera glasses, you'll look like a pretentious dweeb.

Rat

I take relatively compact binoculars (but I also take large scores sometimes). As long as you are not making a pain in the *ss of yourself, it probably does not matter what you take. Obviously, relatively compact binocs or opera glasses are more convenient (although I agree that the latter could make you look like a pretentious dweeb, just like my scores probably make me look).

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I frequently take a pair of 8x56 binoculars. Scanning the audience (much fun during intermission and while waiting for the performance to open) I've seen a few others from time to time. Box seats on the walls of the hall are best for overall bino use, IMO.

I bought a pair of modern opera glasses for my wife which she says are handy, lightweight and useful. They do not look like the Victorian sort of thing so reminiscent of high-button shoes and whalebone corsets. Not that I object to a nice tight corset; just not on me.

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Just curious, is it considered in bad taste to view an orchestral performance from the upper balcony, with full-size binoculars rather than opera glasses?

IMHO, what's worse than that (and I don't consider binocs in poor taste), is the ultra-casual dress that some wear to a performance.

I saw Itzhak Perlman perform with the Nashville, Tn. orchestra and the attire ranged from tuxes to t-shirts and shorts with tennis shoes.

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One of the venues I've been to in the past few years even rents opera glasses to patrons. I can't remember if it was Davies Hall in San Francisco or the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, although I think it's the latter.

I agree with Violon, but no doubt the argument would be made by some about making classical music more accessible to the great unwashed. :)

Neil

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