Last night, still tired from the move mind you my lovely wife obtained tickets to the Opera Carmen. Not just your average tickets either, these were uber good tickets. So here is how yesterday afternoon went. Finish work at 5, drive home (40 min in traffic), find suit good shoes etc. get dressed, drink one glass of wine turn around head all the way back to park basically in the same car park I had just left an hour and a bit earlier.
Now I will stop myself here to say one little thing. I don’t like Opera, never have, never will. I have a huge collection of 80’s cd’s at home and that is my taste, my wife she likes Opera and there in lies the rub.
Anyway back to the Opera….. Now see I am all dressed in my finery for the evening along with most of the audience as well. The suits are out, the pearls are on and the shoes have been shined. Now come the first part of the Opera I don’t get. The lights go out. Now what is the point in wearing all your best clothes so that you walk in sit down and crush them only to have the lights go out! You could be wearing your tracksuits and slippers and be a damned lot more comfortable for all the good it will do. So now Carmen is in French. Great I think, all I have to do is remember my 2 years of high school French from 1983 and 1984 and I will be able to enjoy this. Nope, didn’t not happen, all I could manage to pick out were words for love, death and freedom. I think there is something subliminal going on inside my head.
Now for those of you that haven’t been to the opera they have surtitles so you can follow what is going on. This would be great if they actually said what the words were. People sing and sing and three words appear above the stage, then people sing some more. So I have no idea what is going on.
This production of Carmen looked very good and in the opening scenes they even had a donkey on stage. Although I must admit the donkey looked as excited to be there as I did. But as the lead female hit some of the higher notes it was amusing to watch his ears move around, which provided some 20 minutes of amusement to me.
Then a quick scene change and more singing etc. The band strikes up some song that is vaguely familiar and the donkey back stage has undergone one of the most impressive costume changes in history, for now it is a huge black horse with a dude singing about killing bulls. At this point I quickly reread the plot and find that yes indeed it has something to do with bulls as well and am thinking cool they will bring out a bull for the final act.
Now of course at this point the silly man who is the lead character has fallen for the woman and she says if he gives up his army job and goes with her, he will be free and all that stuff. What was the dude thinking! I am married and have to go to the Opera what kind of freedom does he think he will get.
Lights out Act 2 is over and thus begins the rush for the bar and the toilets. You rush to the bar to get two over priced drinks only to lose half of them on your suit whilst trying to get out of the crowd. Then just as you are feeling like ordering another drink time is up and it is back to it.
This is now the one thing I find amusing at Opera. After the intermission the clapping is louder, the laughter is stronger and the audience is general more relaxed. Why, that is easy cause you have 20 minutes to get to the bar, order, pay and down your drink. I of course managed to get a headstart on most of the crowd, getting in a couple of cold glasses of Sav Blanc at the bar before the performance started.
So during the intermission the donkey has had a costume change again back to the donkey look. But it stage presence is limited to a walk on walk off roll. Pity it was doing so well. There is more singing, more singing and more singing. Did I mention the singing…. Oh the singing.
Finally Act 4 is here and I wait for the inevitable death scene. But wait…where is the bull. There is no bull. So far I have seen a chicken, a horse and a donkey (which may well have been the horse anyway) and yet despite all the talk of bull fighting there is no bull. Then suddenly it is over. 20 minutes of saying I will kill you if you don’t love me and then he kills her, go figure.
And that’s it. The stage and house lights come on, everyone claps for ages. The horse comes out and does a bow (now that is clever and the crowd clap loudly), but where is the donkey. No clapping for the donkey, no crowd adulation either for its great performance. Thus confirming my theory that the donkey and the horse were the same actor.
Then the curtain falls and we leave. We were most probably in the light for less than an hour all dressed up in our finery just to sit for 2.5 hours in the dark. Now I have to finish unpacking the house, but in light of last night unpacking is suddenly looking a lot more exciting and I can wear my slippers!