Now that (digitally) filmed staged opera performances have become a regular and popular inhabitant of our cultural landscape it's time the one responsible for determining what appears or doesn't appear in a shot — viz., the film's director — recognizes the special requirements of the camera shot syntax peculiar to the successful presentation of filmed staged opera and cease assuming, as filmed staged opera film directors almost always do today, that the camera shot syntax appropriate for works created originally and specifically for film is equally appropriate for the presentation of filmed staged opera. It most decidedly is not. Filmed staged opera requires its own camera shot syntax, and it's one that couldn't be more simple or straightforward. One of film's most powerful expressive tools, a tool unique to cinema, is the close-up in its various forms — from the extreme close-up that focuses on some minute detail, to the "head(or face)-shot", to the "head-and-shoulders-shot", to the "one-shot" (i.e., half-to-full-length one-person close-up most often referred to as a "medium close-up"), to the "two-shot" (i.e., half-to-full-length two-person close-up, also most often referred to as a "medium close-up"), etc. — and so, quite naturally, the close-up is used with great frequency in works created originally and specifically for film. It might even be called film's workhorse shot. In the filming of staged opera, however, the close-up should never be used with anywhere near that sort of frequency and in fact ought to be used only with the utmost discretion. Anna Netrebko and Jonas Kaufmann notwithstanding, opera singers, generally speaking, are not meant to be seen up close when working but are most favorably and advantageously viewed when seen at a discreet distance. Ditto certain parts of a production's set or costumes (certain sets and costumes in Julie Taymor's Zauberflöte for the Met spring instantly to mind). Therefore, in filmed staged opera, and barring any special circumstances, the workhorse shot should always be the so-called "medium-shot", unexciting in itself as it may be: a shot that includes all those onstage who are part of the central action at any point in time, or are a dramatically meaningful part of the reaction to that action, close-ups being interjected only when dramatically clarifying or revealing, or interjected only occasionally and fleetingly as visual spice. Further, and contrary to the standard shot-hierarchy of film where the "long-shot" (i.e., the so-called "establishing-shot" that shows the entire overall setting of the action) is used only rarely, typically only at scene's opening, in a filmed staged opera the long-shot should be used fairly often so that the film audience is regularly provided a satisfying overall orientating view; a view available at will at all times for an audience in the opera house. And excepting special effects, that's pretty much it. That would seem to give short shrift to those benefits film is able to provide an audience; benefits not available to them live in the opera house. But that's not the way filmed staged opera is experienced in practice when done properly where the shot "palette", so to speak, and shot tempo are used with intelligence and real dramatic understanding. Rather, filmed staged opera done in that way is almost invariably experienced as a satisfying simulacrum of the Real Deal. While there no doubt will be those who care little for or are indifferent to opera as genuine dramma per musica and who will object bitterly to being deprived of constant, up-close-and-personal views of their favorite songbirds, there's nothing for it. For such fans one can say only, let 'em eat cake.