Saturday, November 13, 2010

Off to the Opera!

OK,  that sounds as pretentious as hell,  but that's just too bad.   I had every intention of saying something yesterday,  but for a while there,  getting out to the opera was starting to look somewhat doubtful.
 And I already had the tickets!
 And well,  remember what I said about wanting to have good seats?  I'll let you go to the appropriate website and take a gander at some ticket prices and you can come to your own conclusions.
So needless to say,  when Travelling Companion called from Cluj Napoca yesterday morning to say the flight had been delayed because there was some sort of pea soup fog,  we both started to get a little nervous.   Too far to drive for the pick-up (eight hours)  and taking the train would have got her into the Westbahnhof at 8:30 this morning.   Pfft!  Right!
 Thankfully the fog lifted,  and the system that was coming through Wienerland here passed by,  and although she was over an hour delayed,  it all worked out.


And that is probably the most nerve racking part of going to some place like the opera.  There are just so many things that one hopes will fall into place so you get to plonk your hind end down in those hard to get seats.
Too much butt clenching.
And yes,  there's probably a pun in there.

 So you have to understand,  as much as I like my,  oh I don't know,  Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young* (odd combination to mention I know)   I think I've had a hankering to see Tosca at some point in my life ever since the "Three Tenors" did a few snippets way back in the early nineties in Italy.
With apologies to all my "pub buddies",  but hey,  so I like a little opera once in a while?  

 I'm going to now drag you kicking and screaming into the world of opera appreciation for  the next few minutes as I give you a little coles notes version of the story.
Basically there's a guy who's a bit of a scum bag,  in a position of authority,  who uses that authority to have his way with the womenfolk.  Boy,  that sure seems like a recurring theme,    dunnit?
That would be Scarpia,  (you may hiss and boo now)  who also happens to be the chief of police.   Long story short,  he needs to bump off any of his rivals,  one of which happens to be the lover of Tosca,  his latest interest.  It's actually heaps more complicated than that,  but we won't go there.

You're welcome.

Here is an example of Placido Domingo,  playing the part of that lover, Mario Cavaradossi
at the point where he is about to be put to death....
I put in that particular snippet since it has subtitles.  Always helps.

The fellow who did that particular aria got a hearty round of applause when he did that one.  He was pretty danged good.  I have to confess, when I hear this one,  I do tend to get a little "verklempt",  but we'll just skip over that.

 So the bottom line is,  Tosca makes a "deal" with Scarpia that she'll give in to him if he spares the life of Cavaradossi,  then after he writes out the pardon,  she kills him.
(I know!)

Seems she really didn't want to go through with that whole "kissy kissy" thing.

The thing was,  to make it look good,  they were going to have a fake firing squad,  just to make everything look proper,  but Scarpia double crosses her,  and the firing squad uses real bullets anyway.

Even from beyond the grave, he's such a bastard!

So Cavaradossi gets killed,  and Tosca commits suicide by leaping to her death.  
That's it.  Pretty much the whole story.

That took roughly two hours with two intermissions.

As I'm sure you're aware,  taking photos during the performance is really,  really bad form,  but I do have a few random pics....

Our view of the stage was pretty good.

Marco Berti,  who played the part of Mario Cavaradossi.

Michèle Crider on the right,  who played the part of Tosca.

Him I really liked.  Her not so much.  She also did Madama Butterfly that we went to see back in June.   Meh.   I guess I prefer Tenors.  Dunno.

More random pics.

Um,  those would be the standing places.   Don't think I could do that.  Maybe thirty years ago.

Now,  see the lady with the light coloured clothes?   She's right about now telling the man there that he's in her seat.  

He's not.

  She tried to tell my I was in her seat.   I wasn't.
 There's this thing called "left"  and "right".   Um...ya.   We sent her over to the other side.

So not only was she on the wrong side (don't know why the ushers didn't catch it, but maybe she was one of those "know it alls")  but she wasn't even on the right level.   Here she is,  finally in her proper spot.   Yikes.

OK,  you may have to break down and click on that one.  I wanted the "wide"  shot...

Note how she's on the row below us?

So while it turns out Tosca is indeed not a comedy,  at least some of the audience members were worth a chuckle.

Have a fine weekend.

Oh!  Almost forgot!  Today's number is 27.

*who coincidently turned 65 today.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.