Tuesday, August 30, 2016

first opera

The girls attend their first opera.


* These days their only good shoes are the sports shoes...

I was playing in the pit and as I kept talking about it – telling them the story about the murderous princess who chops off her suitor’s heads, and watching the performance on Youtube of the opera in Beijing’s Forbidden Palace -  they got really curious.

* The huge orchestra in the pit, which was deeper than usual so we would sound "further away" and not overpower the singers

Actually it was just Jo. She wanted to know how the cruel Princess issued the three riddles to her suitors, what those three riddles were and how the victorious Prince guessed the answers.

(Day wasn’t interested)

I really had my doubts about buying them the tickets which cost $46.50 apiece, after the student discount. Opera is not for everyone.

It’s long. This one ran from 8pm to 1045, in three acts with two intervals.


This particular one is set in China and apart from Nessun Dorma which every other talent show contestant attempts and which every plebian would know, the music is a lot less ear-friendly than Puccini’s usual fare (Madame Butterfly etc etc). Perhaps the composer was trying to reflect Oriental tones. It features a lot of that old Chinese folk song, Mo Li Hwa (Jasmine Flower). Apparently Puccini appropriated the theme for the opera.

* The load of "ancient-Chinese" kids backstage

* Gorgeous Chinese costumes

There is also a lot of agonizing going on stage which consists of inordinately long, slow songs.

Did they girls like it?

* Jo took this photo of the last-night audience from the cosy balcony box where they were ensconced, together with Gong Gong

When I finished, Jo greeted me with a litany of complaints.

“Mama, you said the Subtitle TV was next to us but we are one level higher than the TV! And I couldn’t see the other TV on the other side of the stage! Lulu had to whisper every single subtitle to me and she missed some!” (I know how Jo hates missing anything)

Lulu: “Mama I had to read the subtitles for the whole opera without anyone else hearing except Jody. I’m very tired.”

Apart from that, they reveled in trying to spot Mama in the pit. While I can see them perfectly clearly, they apparently found it hard to find me.

No, they didn’t fall in love with opera. 

But at least they saw one in their life! And they will always know the story behind Nessun Dorma!

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