Those of us who sing or study opera know how great it is. The stories, the music, the spectacle: what’s not to love? Unfortunately, a lot of the world hasn’t caught on to the majesty of opera.
One obvious explanation for this is a lack of exposure. Most people haven’t seen an opera, nor do they know of anyone who has seen one.
However, many people do know the various celebrities, politicians, and athletes on this list. What they probably don’t know is that these people are also famous opera fans.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Perhaps one of the most famous opera fans around (and my personal favorite on this list), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants others to know more about opera too. She gives lectures on Opera and the Law, has had Placido Domingo sing to her personally, and even has had an opera written about her. In other words, any singer or director could consider it a personal achievement to simply have Justice Ginsberg in the audience for their performance.
According to her IMDB biography, Meryl Streep’s early performing goals were centered around opera rather than theater or film. Although the switch has clearly suited her well, it would have been interesting to see her on the operatic stage. It seems we will all have to settle for her as the world’s worst opera singer instead.
Comedienne and actress Retta is perhaps best known for her role as Donna Meagle in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. Retta and her character share a common interest – a love of opera. She has her own set of pipes too, as she demonstrated on the Conan O’Brian show back in 2012.
Although she is best known for starring in the title role of Xena: Warrior Princess, Lucy Lawless is another Parks and Recreation star with a soft spot for opera. Much like Meryl Streep, her early performance ambitions leaned towards the operatic stage. Although her ambitions shifted, perhaps someday we’ll get to see some of her chops in a Xena opera?
British comedian, actor, and director Chris Addison has been seen in shows such as The Thick of It, Lab Rats, and Skins. Soon though he will add the French opera L’étoile to his resumé. He’s not a singer, but he’s been invited in for a comedic speaking role. It seems right up this famous opera fan’s alley.
The American actress Jessica Chastain has been seeing walking the red carpet at the Met opening night gala, but her fandom doesn’t stop there. The Academy Award nominee shares her operatic evenings on social media, a trend she’ll hopefully keep up.
The Chicago Bulls
Although peer pressure is usually not something to be condoned, Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol is encouraging his teammates to go to the opera. A known lover of the arts and classical music, so far Pau Gasol’s influence has only gone as far as one teammate, forward Nikola Mirotic. Still, hopefully the trend will continue throughout the rest of the team, and perhaps even on to some of their fans.
It would probably be a pleasure to many singers out there to have each of these famous opera fans in the audience for their performance. It would be even better though to have these celebrities share their fandom with their own followers, creating a new generation of opera lovers all around.
What other famous opera fans do you know of? What celebrity would you love to have come to your performance? What else can these famous opera fans do to increase opera viewership amongst their own fanbase?