Monday, March 8, 2010

An afternoon at the Opera

State Opera House
Originally uploaded by danielle512
Sunday afternoon I saw the State Opera's performance of Puccini's Turandot. The State Opera house is a lovely little building near the National Museum. It's not as sumptuous as the Paris Garnier or San Francisco War Memorial (I've not been to so many others), but it has a sincere prettiness that is immensely appealing. The chairs could be a bit more comfortable though. 

Czech people are serious about dressing up, so I did by best to turn up turned out: heeled leather boots, black sheath dress, fuzzy turtleneck sweater (more in the interests of warmth than style), a tailored tweed jacket, dangly earrings, eyeliner and, and, lipstick. The opera staff and audience members addressed me in Czech, which felt like a reward for my efforts. (One of my definitions of successful travel is being addressed in the local language.)

Upstairs in the hallways hung portraits of notable performers associated with the opera house. By far the best was a delicious picture of Marina Vyskvorkina. She is shown, full locks flowing, oozing with scarcely containable fabulousness. I look at this photograph and think, “How cool must it be to be her?”

The performance began dull enough, but improved as the death toll rose. The most enjoyable singers were the comical Ping, Pang and Pong. These over-wrought ministers flitted around the stage like over-plumed birds in multi-layered be-sequened, be-tasseled headdresses, coquettishly fluttering fans in their hands.

At least one audience member did tear up at the show-shopping aria Nessun Dorma (click here to listen to a recording). Equally touching, though, was the crowd who came. Many large family groups: everyone from grandma to toddling little boy.

During one of the intermissions, I snapped a shot of a father instructing his young daughter: on his knees, sharing points from the program to an attentive audience of one.

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