A Misadventure At The Opera

Friday was date night. And I was so close to going to First Friday in Phoenix. I preface that last sentence with this explanation: we’ve been living in Arizona for four years and we’ve never been to Frist Friday.

I went to work early in order to leave early and then the unexpected happened. Opera tickets landed on my desk. First Friday comes every month, free opera tickets do not. I was excited. Hubby, needless to say, like any hubby was not.

But here it was — an opportunity to scratch something off the bucket-list. And so we went.

Getting There – Why Am I Navigating?

After devouring dinner and changing into our opera-finest, we hopped in to the car so as not to miss the show. We couldn’t be late! But if not for hubby I would have left the tickets on the table. Any time saved in not having to go back to the house for the tickets was lost in going 10 miles out of our way. See below.

Map to Arizona Opera
I took us to point B when we should have gone to C.

No thanks to me, we arrived with minutes to spare.

Don’t We Look Like Season Ticket Holders?

“Welcome back to another season,” said the greeter at the door as he scanned the free opera tickets that were given to me by a colleague who is the season ticket holder but as she couldn’t make it, we got to go in her stead. “You’re located in portal number 12. Do you know where that is?”

“Nope,” I said bluntly and to hubby’s chagrin as I completely overlooked the whole premise of trying to look like we belong. Moments before the lights dimmed we found our seats.

Fireworks and A Laser Show

Unable to contain my excitement about going to the opera I rhetorically asked hubby, earlier in the car, how neat it would be if the opera tried to appeal to a younger audience. You know, with fireworks and a laser show.

Instead we got Cavalleria Rusticana, which was based off Giovanni Verga’s short story called — wait for it — Cavalleria Rusticana. And with it came characters without introduction, the man sitting directly behind us whose distinctive raspy cough was giving us the case of the giggles, and a paper mache cross, Mary and a Jesus that we desperately wanted to be an actor who would jump down and start singing or dancing as we lost track of the plot as the CNN-like ticker that provided the English subtitles stopped working half-way through.

Viking lady singing opera
Heck, I would have been happy with some vikings.

Intermezzo Means We Can Get The Hell Out Of Here, Right?

The lover (Turiddu) was dead, the curtains closed, people clapped and the lights came on. Was that it? Could we leave? Was that my opera experience? Feeling numb and wanting to get back home, we gathered our things and followed the masses back down the stairs and to the doors. Except! No one was leaving. People were shuffling about and the greeters who scanned our tickets earlier were standing in front of the door. Were they guarding the door?

“It’s right there. The door. Babe, let’s go,” I said with gritted teeth and smiling at those who looked at us. Having seen too many zombie movies as of late, the irony of trying not to attract attention to ourselves and shuffling to the exit was leaving an impression. But I don’t know what he saw but hubby turned a smile ear-to-ear.

“Oh no. There’s another half,” and he marched us back to our seats.

Saving The Best For Last — Pagliacci

Who doesn’t love clowns? Traveling clowns that cheat on their spouses, try to rape married women and then kill said spouses. This all-too-blunt condensed description not withstanding, this was a better performance and I could appreciate the nuances and sub-plots. And believe it or not, you even know the famous riff too. If I’m not mistaken, it was used in the Godfather II.

Sticking To Musicals

Perhaps this was not the best opera to start on and perhaps we’ll have to try again and, if we’re real lucky, perhaps one day operas will incorporate fireworks, laser shows and a singing Jesus. Or, I’ll just stick to musicals. Book Of Mormon , here I come!


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