Operas to live vicariously through

We tend to find a lot of tragic stories in opera but whilst not all of these may have happy endings, we’re sure the music will cheer you up. First compiled during lockdown, take a look at our favourite operas to live vicariously through.


In need of an adventure? Take a look at Mozart’s masterpiece, The Magic Flute.

We follow Tamino’s journey through a strange and distant land and the trials where he must complete to rescue the princess Pamina and prove himself worthy of being a leader.

With The Queen of the Night’s instantly recognisable aria and Mozart’s infamous legacy, this is one of the best operas for beginners! And with a story about magical instruments, what music lover wouldn’t enjoy living vicariously through this opera?

Discover The Magic Flute


If you’re currently feeling like you want to run away with the fairies then Iolanthe is the opera for you.

So you MIGHT have had enough of politicians, but Gilbert and Sullivan’s parody of braying peers is certainly a bit of light relief.

As she returns from her 25 year banishment for marrying a mortal, fairy Iolanthe learns that her half-fairy half-human son has fallen in love. Unfortunately for him his beloved is also sought-after by the Lords of Westminster, leading to a showdown between the peers and the fairies, giving the opera its alternate title: The Peer and the Peri.

An introduction to Iolanthe


Transport yourself to sunny Spain with The Barber of Seville. Regarded as one of the best opera buffs, it provides some well needed comic relief.

In Rossini’s farcical favourite, Figaro, a barber, assists Count Almaviva in prising the beautiful Rosina away from her lecherous guardian, Dr Bartolo.

With melodies so vibrant you can almost smell the orange trees, this opera will keep your spirits lifted – and if one opera isn’t enough, the story continues in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro!

An introduction to The Barber of Seville


A comedic Shakespearean opera, Verdi’s Falstaff is sure to keep you entertained with it’s farcical plots from the caddish knight Falstaff.

Adapted from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff’s drunken japes will keep you entertained, as he plots to seduce the wives of two rich men to access their wealth. Unfortunately for Falstaff they are one step ahead and are prepared to prank him in revenge.

This opera is priceless, even just for the visual of John Falstaff being thrown into the Thames in a laundry basket. We’ve all been there at some point!

Listen to the music

For a gloriously extravagant party, you’ll love Verdi’s La traviata.

Beautiful courtesan Violetta attends a party where she meets the romantic Alfredo but when the hypocrisy of upper-class fashionable society threaten their relationship, someone must pay the ultimate price.

This tragic love story may not have a happy ending, but there’ll be plenty of celebrations to enjoy!

An introduction to La traviata