‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to talk about opera without appearing intelligent

Today my family dropped me off to see the broadcast of Thais on their way to do whatever it is they do when I'm not micromanaging them. On the way there, Lucy pitched a small fit. "How come you're the only one that gets to go to the opera?" she asked. Because there's a God, Chris probably thought to himself. "You always go and we never go. It isn't fair."

I explained that I was going for work. Daddy sometimes goes to rock shows without us for work, and this was kind of like that. Sometimes we get to go with him, but if he's working, daddy has to go even when we can't. Mommy has to go to the opera. You can't. Ha!

When the Met Opera does their live broadcasts, I get to go. Sometimes I am a little excited and talk about it all week. This is apparently not setting well with Lucy. Which is awesome. By not inviting her to something I enjoy, I've given it an aura of the forbidden. And now she wants to go.

When I checked in at the box office, I asked if my 6 year old could come with me. The Met kindly gives two seats to press people, so the extra ticket was not a problem. My question really was, "do you think people will consider me a bad parent for bringing my daughter to an opera about an Egyptian courtesan?" They did not have an answer for this.

I took the tickets to the car and let Lucy know that she could come IF she was completely silent and IF she didn't move a muscle and IF she didn't think she'd be scared because I Swear To You, Child, I Am Not Leaving. "If you're scared," I told her, "you can put your head in my lap and just listen to the beautiful music."

She was not scared. She did not squirm. She did not squeak. She did not, in fact, sit all the way back in her chair even once.

I have heard people talk about the first time they saw an opera, and how it struck something deep within them. I think this is what happened with Lucy - although it may have been more the costumes by Christian LaCroix than the score by Massenet. Renee Fleming was so outrageously beautiful it would be hard for any self respecting six year old to resist her. Jewelry! Sparkles! Twirly hair! Lucy will either want to be a courtesan when she grows up or an opera diva. Either way, she gets awesome dresses.

Hopefully there will not be a subsequent post, years from now, titled "How Opera Ruined My Daughter's Life." I'm not sure how I would feel having an opera diva in the family.

If you have not seen any of these broadcasts, I cannot urge you strongly enough to go. I DON'T CARE if you don't like opera. These productions are spectacular. They give you little backstage tours, show you the set changes between acts, talk to the leads (who are often funny and surprisingly human) and basically make it possible for anyone with a short attention span to watch a full length opera.

The sets are out of this world and the costumes are, well, by people like Christian LaCroix. They don't mess around. Robert Lepage, the stage director for the last opera (Faust), has done Cirque du Soleil shows and Peter Gabriel concerts. This is not the production your aunt made you go see at the Elks Club.

There are two broadcasts coming up in January, on the 17th and the 24th. La Rondine I'm not so excited about because Angela Gheorghiu is wearing a ridiculous hat in the promo pictures. But Orfeo ed Euridice, besides being very fun to say, promises to rock. Costumes by Isaac Mizrahi instead of ridiculous hats. Go here to see where it's screening. Or if you live near me, get tickets at WHAT in Wellfleet or Cape Cinema in Dennis.

Oh just go do it already.


One of my truly brainiac opera revues is archived here on page 11.

Ha! Two people found this post by Googling "Renee Fleming." What did they do, scroll through the other 700,000 results looking for the most inane? I mean honestly.

I can't seem to shut up today. Sorry.


Kristin said...

My MiL loves opera and is always asking if I want to go to one with her. I haven't yet gone. I feel like I need to pick the right one, because if I go to the wrong one, I won't like it and will be soured on opera forever. Maybe I could try one of these. I think they screen in a city fairly near to us.

Susan said...

Kristin - One of these would be perfect! I don't even know which one to recommend as they pretty much all look awesome. Even the one with the dorky hat (a friend of mine who actually knows and sings opera asked to go with me to that one. Apparently it's not all about the hats. Who knew?)

Do! It! Do! It!

Marilee said...

Next time you get an extra ticket and Lucy doesn't want to go (I couldn't possibly ask her not to go if she wanted to), can I go with you? I have only been to the opera once, but it was La Boheme at the Vienna Opera House, amazing seats (my brother knew the head of the childrens chorus) and I absolutely loved it!
So delighted to discover your web journal.
Merry Christmas,

Susan said...

Marilee - I would love for you to go with me! I will keep you posted.