As part of my “A Taste of the Arts of Philadelphia” prize, I was sent a pair of tickets to the opera, Mozart’s Don Giovanni. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I love classical music but my exposure to opera comes from a few arias on a classical music’s Greatest Moments CD. The Bee was voluntold to go with me; I take her to many of the cultural events I am fortunate to attend with the thought that she should experience as much as possible to make a more informed decision about what arts she may or may not prefer. The opera was being performed at the Academy of Music and we arrived with a sea of people who seemed excited about the show ahead. I was excited too but really unsure of what to expect. I am happy to have gone and would gladly love to attend again.
Lessons learned from a Night at the Opera:
The opera is accessible. Before the start of our show there was “Opera Overtures”, a free introduction to this season’s opera performances. This talk was designed to create some buzz for the upcoming season and it was led by Michael Bolton, Opera Philadelphia’s Vice President of Community Programs. Also, during the performance English subtitles were streamed over the stage to translate the libretto. The subtitles were not intrusive and didn’t take away from the action on the stage.
The opera is full of action. I was under the false impression that the opera would be boring. I was comparing an opera to the musicals that I love. The opera was just as action packed with an interesting storyline and the orchestra plated beautifully. I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next, laughing at the outrageous actions of the singers and gasping as Don Giovanni continued his shenanigans.
The opera is something to be experienced at least once. Like the contagious excitement that comes from a sports event, the buzz from the audience made me so excited to have tickets. The people sitting around us chatted about the performers and what they were looking forward to. Unlike other productions that we have been to in which we listen to the soundtracks until we know them by heart, we were totally unfamiliar with the story of Don Giovanni. For future operas I will probably get a back story but I was enchanted by the action on stage and pleasantly surprised with where the story went.
The opera is for all ages. The Bee balked and complained all the way to the theater, even dozing off at one point but even she was on the edge of her seat at the end of Act I as we watched the mischievous Lothario Don Giovanni escape his fate once more from getting his comeuppance. We had to scoot early due to an early morning track meet but The Bee made references to the opera all weekend, even dialing up a classical music station on Pandora.
Today is the last day to see Don Giovanni but the next up is A Coffin in Egypt, which looks like it is full of secrets and hidden truths. Here is a teaser trailer for you.