If you have ever been to The Metropolitan Opera House in New York you know just how stunning the interior is. Seeing as the one photo I snapped with my phone was nearly wrestled out of my hands by a reprimanding usher, I can only attempt to do it justice with words. All of the light fixtures are crystal. And I'm not only talking about the gigantic atomic-like bursts of rainbow and gold that masquerade as chandeliers, even the tiny little sconces that line the aisles are festooned with Swarovski. Four tiers of crimson and gold balconies command respect, and the clientele give it. The almost pitch black theater was silent, not that it needed to be considering the singers had some serious pipes. Even us in the quasi-cheap seats didn't miss an Italian syllable (God bless the donor who made possible the tiny screen that offered up english subtitles). The only negative about the venue was not the opera house's fault, but Jessica's curse. We sat behind the disrespectful young lovebirds while the average theater goer was a conscientious mid-50. Jessica's curse is like many others. My mother has the tendency to be mistaken for a saleswoman. My friend Alex has complete strangers share their life stories at the most inopportune times. And my sister attracts rude patrons. As she so eloquently put it after the second intermission, "Maybe he'll stop mouthing her neck and watch the final act."
The opera itself was an "experience". We've seen many a Broadway musical but an opera is a whole other beast. Every emotion is dialed up to 10 and the minimalistic scenery accentuated to the drama. The entire stage was sloped so that downstage was a horizontal window opening to an ambiguous horizon, glowing with a coordinating color to match the scene's mood or time of day. Almost like chromotherepy for a crowd. The rice paper screens that slid across stage were positioned to give the illusion of an interior without the distraction of a confining structure. The black clothed and veiled chorus carried lanterns and paper birds to create a beautiful ballet of movement and light. Rose petals fell from the 4 story stage ceiling and were illuminated by a magenta glow. One thing I did discover was that my college lighting design professor was correct, I can no longer watch a production without analyzing the color and direction of the lighting.
The performance was beautiful, the story moving and the evening enlightening. Only after the final curtain did we realize Miss Saigon was based on Puccini's opera.
Now to check another item off the list!