Sunday, May 22, 2011

We're opera mad (and we're not even in Camelot)

The three of you who read Weisenheimer on occasion know that my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I enjoy going to the theater. Yet up until this weekend we had, between us, exactly one visit to the opera in our entire lives combined. My Sweetie went with her third-grade class, and still recalls being petrified with all the rules laid down for her behavior: don't make noise, don't speak unless spoken to, don't stand up, don't fidget. She was afraid to breathe until the thing was over!

We're opera-mad in Camelot; we sing from the diaphragm
a lot. From Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Weisenheimer's opera experience has been pretty much limited to the movies A Night at the Opera by the Marx Brothers, during which Harpo inserts "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" into the score, and Moonstruck, in which Nicholas Cage wins Cher by taking her to the opera.

Oh, and there was Tommy, but that was a rock opera, and not quite the same.

Anyway, Friday we changed all that by going to The Magic Flute at Seattle Opera, and we had a darn good time! Speight Jenkins was the general director and Asher Fisch principal guest conductor for the work by Mozart and Emanuel Schikaneder.

The folks at Seattle Opera did their best to frighten my Sweetie by sending out a pre-show email that included a First Timers Guide with handy tips on such topics as what to wear and when to yell "Bravo!" (After the song is over, it turns out, is a good time for that.) She didn't get scared, though, because she never got around to reading the note.

Cynthia didn't do the full Cher treatment, but did get her hair done. I didn't go all tux-y, but did wear gray slacks, a white shirt, black jacket, and my best comedy/drama tie. We looked smashing!

I'm not sure I'm qualified to review operas after one time, but the set was fascinating, the costumes gorgeous, puppetry and clowning fantastic, and there was some incredible singing, led by Mari Moriya, who was the Queen of the Night. Jonathan Boyd as prince Tamino and Leigh Melrose as Papageno were great, too, and a bunch of little kids who were the offspring of Papageno and Papagena were adorable, with one particularly getting amped up during ovation time. (Or maybe she just had to pee badly. Anyway she was hopping around like she was a pogo stick!)

Like Rick Blaine when the Nazis marched into Paris, my German is a little rusty, but I could pick up some of the lyrics and dialog, and luckily the English supertitles filled in the gaps.

I expect we will continue to mix some opera in with our theater-going in the future. Bravo!!

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