The Opera shape isn't exactly a commonly seen one. Even though still produced by a few marques that may make thousands upon thousands of pipes a year, they'll still only crop up now and then, and typically in small numbers. And as far as examples from independent artisans go, I can't remember when I last saw one. While quite a bit larger of bowl than is usual for this shape (they tend to be rather small as a rule), Brad Pohlman still saw fit to make the most of this Opera's signature, oblong cross-section, combining it with the traditional oval chamber design. A lot of times you come across this shape these days, you'll find the maker didn't bother with this feature, which pretty much cancels out the original purpose of the shape itself: allowing for the most amount of chamber in a briar that will still neatly slip into a pocket. On the other hand, you'll find others where the chamber is drastically oblong in proportions, which can readily lead to a pipe that wastes a significant amount of the tobacco you stuff into it anyhow, with the leaf furthermost to the fore and aft refusing to stay lit. However, while Pohlman's design does stretch the chamber out to a noticeable degree, he evidently kept the risk of such finickiness in mind, and allowed for a more well-rounded drilling that looks like it will smoke just fine.
- Eric N. Squires