Last night, I enjoyed seeing my second-ever opera. It was a performance of Aida
, written by Giuseppe Verdi, performed in coordination with the Cincinnati Opera. I like excuses to get dressed up, I like excuses to see beautiful buildings (like Cincinnati’s Music Hall, where this was performed), and I like excuses to listen to music / see dance / hear an orchestra. So, I was not surprised that the evening was so enjoyable. A few notes …
--I purchased our tickets through an organization called Enjoy the Arts. By going through this organization, I was able to get great seats at a discounted price. We were in the very first row of the orchestra (floor), so the only thing between us and the performers was the orchestra pit (with a full symphony orchestra!). When I ordered the tickets, the person taking my order said we’d be so close that we’d feel the singers’ spit. That, unfortunately (or fortunately?) was not the case. But it was a great close-up view.
--Wow, can opera singers sing. Obviously this is true, but really and truly—one person’s voice filling a room like that? Amazing. (The terrific acoustics there help, but still …) I especially enjoyed the voice of the lead soprano, Aida, and of the high priest, a bass. The big chorus numbers were truly magnificent. As a would-love-to-be-better singer, I felt envy and awe at the beautiful voices of the performers.
--There was a ballet sequence in the second act of the opera that was quite good. I don’t mean to sounds vulgar here, but one of the most interesting parts (very modern dance) was that the male dancers were covered in gold body paint and wearing, basically, thongs on their bottoms. So you could see the movement of their bodies very acutely, including the contractions of their buttocks. Dancers are so amazingly physically fit; it was interesting to see how their muscles and bodies worked throughout the dance. Of course the women dancers were amazing, as well, moving in ways I can scarcely imagine moving.
--The second act was my favorite. This act was in every way GRAND OPERA. From ballet sequence to large chorus number to huge props being dragged onto the stage and dropped from the ceiling to the appearance of a live (and gigantic!) eagle from the Cincinnati Zoo … it was a thrill.
--During intermissions (there were three, one between each of the four acts), you could buy concessions including “regular” things like soda, coffee, chips, but also including champagne and fancy chocolate. During the second intermission, we decided to live it up and go for champagne and chocolate. Because of the long lines, we thought to divide and conquer—half the party going to gather the bubbly and the other half on a sugar hunt. Just as we met up and began to sip our champagne, the bells indicating that the show would be starting again soon started to sound. Oh no! We weren’t allowed to bring food or drink into the theater. We downed the champagne (gulps, seriously, not the best way to drink champagne), and I (because I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing it out), demurely wrapped my chocolate in a napkin and slid it into my purse to eat during the third intermission. The third intermission was a chocolate-filled delight.
--The evening ended after midnight. I believe everyone in my group of seven had a good time. At home, I fell into a deep sleep and dreamt of nothing. I awoke with music in my ears.