Opera glasses are a magnifying device that help opera viewers focus on objects onstage from distant points in an opera hall. They are built to be small and functional, while many are also designed for fashion as well. Some opera enthusiasts use them regularly, while others find them unnecessary.
In a way, opera glasses are like binoculars, but they are specifically designed for viewing indoor performances. In larger opera venues, viewers toward the back or in balconies can be a substantial distance from the stage. As much of enjoying opera involves following the story as it is performed, not being able to see can be a big problem. These glasses help audience members see the action from locations far from the stage.
Opera glasses are designed to be small and unobtrusive, helping the user follow the performance without distracting other attendees. Many models look very similar to binoculars, but focus especially well indoors. They are much smaller than binoculars and come in a variety of designs.
Almost like opera tickets themselves, these viewing devices come in many different prices. The differences between the models include the quality of the optics and the construction of the glasses. For some models, fashion is also a consideration, with the glasses designed to look as elegant as the people using them. In those cases, the cost often rises as well.
While opera glasses can be purchased easily, they are often rented for an individual performance in larger venues. This can be useful in situations where a person attends opera occasionally and wouldn't use the device elsewhere, or when someone arrives to discover that he can't see the stage from his seat. Renting a pair for a performance is often inexpensive.
Some operagoers ask if they need opera glasses at all, and for many, it is a personal choice. Some find having them to be helpful in following the story, while others find them distracting. Those who haven't used them before might consider borrowing or renting a pair before buying a pair. Trying them out during a performance is the best way to know whether an opera enthusiast will find them useful.