A Night at the Opera

Last night, our trip up to The Santa Fe Opera to see The Letter for a little pre-anniversary outing. In our four years here, never been to the opera.

Not knowing what to expect crowd- and traffic-wise, we pulled into our parking space minutes after the lot opened … about three hours before the performance. A few tailgaters had already set up, but we wandered the area for a bit — it's really nice up there …

And then went to the Prelude Talk given by Oliver Prezant. Given the ribbing and banter from audience members who'd caught him before, figured it'd be more on the lighthearted side — and it was, lively, providing some background on the tale and glimpses of the things that, if we knew anything about opera, we'd probably know enough to appreciate.

Back to the car for tailgate. Had been thinking about this for a few days; one of Mon's co-workers brings a tub of KFC, other operagoers go all out. Turns out what we both wanted was subs from The Italian Store in Arlington. Since that wasn't gonna happen, had to put together our own facsimile; ingredients from the new Sunflower Farmers Market that just opened up the street.

Time for a drink and people-watching inside the gates, one of the most enjoyable parts. Then, up (and up and up) to our seats. They weren't exactly the cheapest ones, but we were pretty much at the top row of the mezzanine; would've been nicer to be closer, but I don't think it diminshed the experience. Performers were far away, but we had the binoculars and also got a view into the orchestra pit. Though the opera was in English, the little glowing screens in front of everyone's seat flashed the lyrics, so there was nothing lost (and it made a pretty funny visual, looking down on all the blinking lights in the darkness of the audience).

And the show was everything the creators set out to do and the reviews say — fast-paced, entertaining, accessible. Unfamiliar with opera, I'm sure we were missing out on plenty of the nuances and depth, but swept up in it (first time I looked at my watch it was 15 minutes 'til the end). We had a good time — and the reviewers who know about these things assure us we did; check the WSJ, the New Mexican, and the Reporter.

The music, Monica noted, was more movie score than what we think of as opera; the scene changes were also interesting, the stage described by Oliver as a "Murphy Bed set," sliding moving pieces that felt like cinematic transitions.

I'm not sure how well I'd do a "real" opera, but this one was great, and know we know what it's all about. All in all, a pleasant time, a nice change. Until the car died leaving the parking lot (probably the fuel pump) and we had to wait for a tow home. Sigh. It was a late night, so until James comes over for a barbecue, we're having a bit of a Greyhound day.

OK, here:


pagalina said...

mmmm italian store mmmm. we have coppola's here in richmond which is pretty dang good with the italian sub, but I'd forgotten about the italian store!

Raphael Della Ratta said...

For the record: opera plus English equals a musical.

monica said...

No, there's talking in musicals, between the singing. Opera equals no dialogue. It's kinda weird.