Over many cups of tea in the past few weeks, I'd been studying up on the opera Carmen by Bizet. I attended my first Opera performance last Friday. Fortunately, my neighbor went with me. She's just completed her master's degree in Opera and I've had the privilege of hearing her at two recitals.
I was prepared, as I knew the story and I had listened to the music several times. Still, it didn't prepare me for the full experience. I walked away with a few thoughts:
1 - Carmen is an enticing and fatalistic story of a manipulative (but likeable) Gypsy woman and the men she seduces. I learned that in its time, the opera was considered scandalous. In fact, Bizet didn't live to see the opera's success. A shame!
2 - I was in the balcony and I had absolutely NO trouble hearing the performers, even tho there was a live symphony. It is really amazing how well the performers' voices project. This is one of the main differences between opera and musical theater. In musical theater, both the musicians and the singers are amplified. Not in opera.
3 - It was an interesting experience to have the setting of the opera be in Spain, listen to French singing, and read the text in English! (The opera house projected the words in English above the stage. This is done very subtly, but is a big help.)
4 - I'm very grateful to my friend who educated me on the history of the opera, the cast, the musical elements, etc. I think going to an opera prepared is a smart thing. :-)
5 - Was Carmen a heroine, standing for women's independence? Was she conniving, selfish and shallow? Was she all of these things? These are the questions I left with.
On an unrelated note, notice that I changed my template. The other one was messed up with the sidebar and I couldn't find the problem in the coding. So, I swapped. This one reminded me of spring and green tea.