My folks love opera – I am clearly the black sheep in this family. I can’t stand it. It’s always in another language and I know enough to know that I’m missing the nuances and double entendres (I mean, it’s opera, there’s ALWAYS double entendres. And lots of deaths.)
Okay, it’s not that I can’t stand it, I actually quite like the music sometimes. But I feel like I only really “get” the English ones, and sometimes the French.
But the Met is amazing – they’ve opened up their archives and are posting an opera each evening for free. My folks used to go to the Cineplex showing of the Met Operas and now they are enjoying watching them in the living room. I have to say it’s kinda nice to have as background noise to my reading Divisional Court decisions or drafting adjudicator education materials.
But I still think of Bugs Bunny when I hear the opening strains of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (Barber of Seville).
I searched for it on YouTube and found the LA Philharmonic playing it – complete with Bugs on screen! – at the Hollywood Bowl!
So two vaguely-related-to-opera stories from me:
My dad went to the eye doctor. He was having a hard time seeing things far away. The eye doc put him through the usual tests and said nothing really seemed wrong (at the time; turns out that doc was wrong but I digress).
My dad: “But I am having a hard time seeing the surtitles at the opera!“
Eye Doc: “Buy better seats“
The other vaguely opera related memory involves my parents and Easter. They always hosted family and close friends at Easter time. My dad and I would label 100s of pieces of chocolate – you had to find not only 14 (kids) or 7 (adults) pieces of chocolate but YOUR 14 or 7 pieces. Mom would be busy making food for a hundred and twenty people; but hey, we complained about labelling the chocolate 😉
So anyway, when a very young Maltese tenor arrived in Toronto one year to perform, it turns out his flight home was late in the evening on Easter Sunday. And his hotel made him leave early Sunday morning. No one else was around and he happened to call my father. And my folks did what they always did – they invited him over.
So this darling, charming young man (I say young, he’s only 4 years younger than me but I’ve always been old) arrived at our house, looked for chocolate labelled at the last minute with dozens of other people who had no idea that 15 or 20 years later Joseph Calleja would be singing at the Met. And we got to watch him this week AND he played one of my favourites from Shakespeare – Macduff!
The Metopera website wrote:
The great René Pape is Banquo and Joseph Calleja gives a moving performance as Macduff. Adrian Noble’s powerful production provides an ideal setting for this dark drama, which is masterfully presided over by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi.https://www.metopera.org/season/on-demand/opera/?upc=811357017623
So thank you Met Opera. One day I may move beyond Bugs but honesty I hope not!