Before I met E., he use to have season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers’ football games.
He had season tickets for years and saw many of the big games when Joe Montana and Steve Young were the star quarterbacks. The last few years the team has sucked. Two years ago we decided not renew the tickets. Instead we would try opera. We both saw our first operas two and a half years ago when we were on vacation in Vienna and Prague. We were amazed and entranced by the experience. We’ve been to countless musicals and plays but never to an opera. Two years ago this fall we bought tickets to the San Francisco Opera. We signed up for their new Rainbow Series. Although is seems redundant to have “Gay Night at the Opera”. Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun. The opera company has hosted special pre-show talks and private wine & cheese parties. At intermission they served Champagne on the rainbow lit balcony above the Opera House entrance. We’ve received a lot of fun, free swag too: CDs, note cards, extra tickets, etc. It has been great to be courted as new subscribers needing special treatment. It sure beats sitting in the hot sun or pouring rain watching Niners lose.
So far we have been to 10 operas. Listed in the order that we saw them: ranked 1 to 10 where 1=most liked, 10=Least Liked.
4 - Dalibor - Friedrich Smetana, Vienna
7 - Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prague5 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Prague8 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
1 - Billy Budd - Benjamin Britten, San Francisco Opera (Will at DesignerBlog has a great entry and some hunky pictures of Nathan Gunn who had the lead in the show as “the new, slimmed down, buffed up, frequently stripped to the waist male opera star”.
9 - Le Grand Macabre - Gyorgy Ligeti, San Francisco Opera
6 - Eugene Onegin - Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, San Francisco Opera
3 - Così fan tutte - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
2 - The Italian Girl in Algiers - Gioachino Rossini, San Francisco Opera
10 - Doctor Atomic - John Adams, San Francisco Opera
The last opera on the list, Doctor Atomic, we just saw last weekend. It was a newly commissioned opera. What a disappointment. It is in desperate need of rewrites. The source material is interesting has lots of possibilities. It is the story of the scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, key players of the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb. Unfortunately, it was three hours of no action and no melody, just static tableaus of Oppenheimer and the bomb and Minimalist musical soundscapes. The tension consisted of Oppenheimer and the other scientist singing (?) about how bad the weather was.
We have several operas yet to see this season:
Norma, The Force of Destiny, Fidelio, Madama Butterfly, The Maid of Orleans, and The Marriage of Figaro.