Surprising facts about the Seattle Opera

321 Mercer St., Seattle

5 things you didn’t know:
– Commissioned and premiered The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” in 1971 starring Bette Midler, who sang the Acid Queen song.
– Set studios (located in Renton) has also constructed doors for the monorail, sets for the video game “Myst,” and the current “Making of Avatar” exhibit at Experience Music Project.
– Has one of the largest programs for arts patrons in their 20s and 30s in the nation, with 600-plus members.
– When its signature work, “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” premiered in 2009, audiences came from 49 states, 23 countries, and brought in $9.5 million to Seattle’s economy.
– It takes an average of 105 hours to design, construct, and fit a costume for a lead singer.

A must-see:
The Italian opera, “Attila” will make its Seattle Opera premiere in January. The King of the Huns and his conquering hordes clash with cunning women warriors and a scheming Roman general in this work of historical fiction.
“There’s some very nasty, but fascinating characters,” says Jonathan Dean, director of public programs and media.

The last word:
People who have never been to the opera don’t know what they’re missing, Dean says. “Hearing unamplified voices, and seeing what human beings can do, shake the air, shake your ears ”“ it’s amazing how moving it can be.”

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