I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are living somewhere, you should sample as much of the local culture as possible. When I lived in Australia, I was a big Aussie-rules football fan (and would still be, except it’s really hard to see footie outside of Aus). Now that we are in Italy, I was determined to try opera.
Let me start by saying that while I love classical music, I have never been a fan of opera. Unlike André, I don’t have a thing for beautiful voices, and not being able to understand what is going on when I am looking at something has always annoyed me. So pretty much the only operas I would willingly submit myself to were French ones (that is, Carmen and the French operettas) and even then, I wouldn’t say that I made much of an effort to go see one (but I have been to a couple, once in Australia even).
But we are in Italy, the Land of Opera, and I felt it behooved me to at least go once to an opera house. And while I would love to go to La Scala just for the experience, it would mean doing a weekend in Milano, which neither of us seems very interested in doing (and I am pretty sure it will turn out to be impossible to get tickets for La Scala). Another good choice would be to go to the opera in Verona, where it is held in the Roman Amphitheater. In fact, they were having a Verdi season this summer and we kept telling ourselves, let’s go! But we just never got ourselves organized and the first thing we knew, the season was over.
Then André proposed that we attend the operas in the local theater. In fact, he wanted to do the whole season, which, it turned out, was just four operas. I would have preferred just one, but I supposed I could do four, especially since they were all of them classics and none of this post-modern atonic stuff. Also, for opera, the price was amazingly reasonable. So I agreed. I can definitely do one opera every few months.
Slight bonus: two of the operas are in Trento and two in Bolzano. For a small fee, we could get bussed to and fro Bolzano for the opera. So we paid the extra 20 euros for that.
The operas are Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’Elisir d’Amore, La Bohème, and Il Flauto Magico.
Well, yesterday was the barber of Seville. I must take pictures of the Teatro Sociale because it is special. It is a tiny theater but with five stories of galleries in addition to the parterre. We had two seats on the second floor, in a side box. Not the most comfortable of places as it was hard to see our side of the scene without sticking our head out of the box. Also, I don’t know if it was because of the particular angle of where we were, but the orchestra playing at full force would almost always drown out the voices of the singers, which was a pity.
Be that as it may, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was having trouble accepting the fact that I was in Italy in an opera house listening to opera (something I never thought I would ever have an opportunity to do), or the fact that my Italian has progressed enough that I now was able to understand, not everything, but bits and pieces here and there (and then they would start singing fast and I would just drift off into enjoying the music and not bother with trying to understand), or the scenography that was clever and made us laugh several times, but I really had a great time. Me. Having a great time at the opera. Whodathunkit?