Monday, February 23, 2009

Hark! My beating heart hath no love for the opera.

A few weeks ago, my friend and I decided on a whim to get tickets to the opera. We both had never been and had always wanted to go, so we decided to go to the show currently playing at the Lyric Opera House: Tristan und Isolde. Little did we know that it was a 5 hour show. Yes, 5 hours. And all in German (such a pretty language...or not).

Our big opera debut was last Friday night. I was excited, but also a bit scared. I was afraid I wouldn't like it and then be stuck there for the whole show. And my fears immediately came true as I quickly realized that opera is not for me. I was expecting it to be just like in Pretty Woman. I'd be Julia Roberts (minus the dazzling jewels, evening gown and studly date), and be caught up in the story, swept up in the beautiful words and bawl my eyes out over the power of the music. Yeah, not so much. 

The story was...okay. The singing was nice, yes, but very boring. My friend and I laughed out loud a few times as we read the English subtitles that scrolled across the top of the stage. They were singing things like:

My beating heart is thumping in exaltation!

Hark! Heed the wary night which covers thou in its gentle, deceptive beauty.

My heart will perish without my beloved near my bosom

Ok so those weren't exactly what they said, but pretty darn close. It was hilarious. And the same things were said over and over and over again...they could have told that story in 20 minutes, did a little song and dance, and be done with it.

The first act was okay. But then the second act nearly did me in. As I sat there listening to Tristan and Isolde singing about how they would surely die if the other person died because the word "and" connects them forever, I really thought I was going to die of boredom. As I realized my friend fell asleep and I was alone in my suffering, I became fixated on the girl next to me who kept scratching her arm over and over and over again. It was sick. So I tried to tune her out by leaning my head back and counting the decorative vents over our seats (we were in the back, no worries).

As soon as the lights went on for the second intermission, my friend and I took one look at each other and decided we had to leave right then and there. So with two hours left in the show, we packed up our belongings and proudly strutted out of the opera house. I felt like a total dropout, but at least I was a dropout who could go home, get in her pjs and watch Good Will Hunting on TBS.

It's not that I don't appreciate the arts, I just don't think opera is my thing. I know eventually I'll go back and try again (maybe), but I think I need to try one that's like Opera for Dummies. Eh, we'll see.

Outside of my little burst opera bubble, I just had to share my experience from Saturday night. After a long night I climbed into my cab...and immediately discovered that my driver was singing. Loudly. And not in English. It's not like he was singing along to the radio. He was belting out a slow, soulful, spiritual song. I felt like I was intruding on a personal moment, so I tried to sit there as quietly as possible

Until I realized that my driver was on the phone. And the man on the other end of the bluetooth was harmonizing with him, singing just as loudly on his end. I nearly burst out laughing. (It reminded me of The Office when Andy had the guys from Here Comes Treble singing with him over the speakerphones.) But then he started singing in English and it really was a beautiful song. It was very soothing. When he dropped me off, I complimented him on his nice singing voice and he seemed shocked that I had heard him singing. I don't know how that surprised him since I was sitting about 8 inches from him, but oh well. Just another interesting cab ride here in Chicago!


erin - heart in ireland said...

Wow, 5 hours of Opera. I don't think I could have sat for the whole thing either!

And that cabby, amazing!

And yay for pink and green gmail!

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

5 hours of opera is completely a form of cruel and unusual punishment. How on earth is that even allowed? But I give you a ton of credit for sticking it out for three hours.

And the singing cabbie? That's like when my bf farts in the other room and thinks I won't hear it.