One of the best ways I supplemented my time while studying abroad at Oxford University was by attending an opera in London. I had previously gone to the Opéra Bastille in Paris to see Rigoletto. That was a very expensive option, but the Royal Opera House of London offers some much more affordable options for students.

I went to see Lessons in Love and Violence, a modern opera by George Benjamin and libretto by Martin Crimp. I attended this opera for 10GBP. In case you’re unaware – that’s insane. Ok, yeah, the seats were not fantastic, we were seated along the very edge but we had seats. If we had ordered our tickets earlier we might have gotten slightly better seating.

How to Get Tickets

This was all due to the fact that a roommate and I had signed up for the Royal Opera House’s student ticket e-mail program. It’s completely free to sign up. Once you do you will be emailed about discount tickets specifically for students. Often these are 10GBP standby tickets 24 hours before the final performance of the opera’s run.

The entire experience was kind of magical. Last minute hopping on a 4GBP ticket from Oxford to London, explaining the London Underground to my roommate…The actual opera, late night Shake Shack fries, and the Oxford Tube bus system home. It was a whirlwind of fun, after a truly stunning operatic piece.


A man in a white coat with an overexposed face that appears completely featurless

The advert for Lessons in Love and Violence from

Lessons in Love and Violence. While this blog is certainly not about reviewing opera, this was truly one of the best things I have ever seen. The music itself was an experience in the absolute bizarre. If someone would pretty please release the soundtrack without the vocals, I would be forever grateful. The story was super interesting, the voices lovely…The entire thing was designed to put you on edge and think about every moment you were witnessing. The staging was particularly interesting as we witness everything from a single room but from different angles. Really, bravo. I would be very interested in seeing more from this duo.

Final Thoughts

For the cost of a round trip ticket from Oxford to London, two trips on the underground, and the actual ticket, it came to about 20GBP. I don’t think that can really be beaten. I think it’s entirely worthwhile to sign up for the email subscription, just on the off chance you also receive a email about a discounted performance.

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