Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mr. First Timer: The Opera

Every January 1st, I tell myself that this will be the year when I finally go to the opera. I’m a reasonably cultured individual. My sole experience of the most intense of all theatrical forms should not be limited to Elmer Fudd’s spear and magic helmet.

Cut to the next January 1st, when hearing the fat lady sing would go back on the to-do list.

I could offer plenty of excuses for this lapse. Like my busy, busy schedule. Really, the last fifteen years have been insane. I’m only now just catching up.

The truth is I was daunted. My only non-Bugs Bunny contact with opera was in music appreciation class, a name that implies you’ve got to study before you can enjoy. I was sure my ignorance would be spotted by some sharp-eyed aficionado before I made it to the ticket window, much less the concert hall.

Stupid, I know. I blame the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW fans who told me that I’d be ruthlessly mocked as a ‘virgin’ the first time I went to the movie. As if the bluehairs would fling toilet paper at my head if I failed to recognize the key players in DON GIOVANNI.

But last week, I finally remedied the situation. Thanks to Tony Kay, Rosemarie and I were able to attend the dress rehearsal of the Seattle Opera’s production of Offenbach’s TALES OF HOFFMANN.

I’m not going to offer a review, because as I’ve already explained I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. But I can tell you that I intend to go the opera again. And soon.

Here are a few other lessons I’ve learned:

If you want to experience something, simply dive in. Nobody’s paying any attention to you anyway.

Not every opera has a fat lady.


Miscellaneous: Quote of the Day

I recall that in the movie version of Robert Heinlein’s STARSHIP TROOPERS, you couldn’t become a full citizen unless you served in the military. Maybe that’s the solution.”

- Georgetown professor and military analyst Loren Thompson, in a New York Times article on recruiting new soldiers

That’s not the example I would have picked.