We went to the opera last night at the Nationaltheater/Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera and Ballet). Laird’s birthday was last week, and I gave him tickets to see Le nozze di Figaro ("The Marriage of Figaro") — an Italian language opera by Mozart, subtitled in German. Oh yeah.
As exciting as… well… not, in my opinion. Laird loved it. Which is all that really matters, after all.
Maybe I’m more of a symphony orchestra type person — so far I haven’t taken to this opera thing at all. Though I must say last night’s 4 hour marathon was far less excruciating than Aida, which we saw at a 2,000 year-old roman theatre in Verona this past summer. In that instance, boredom ground the shine off the novelty of the surroundings pretty quick, though I was entertained by the undisciplined hooting of the fans shouting "Brava!!" and "Viva Verdi!!". Opera hooligans. Who knew.
Anyway, the German audience was far more sedate, but delightfully eccentric. I swore I saw Andy Warhol’s twin in a tux during the break. Lots of fur and gowns and glitz from the ladies, gender-bender humans in zoot suits wandering around with champagne, and men with handlebar moustaches looking very Poirot. Odd and wonderful characters — unlike the the campy characters on stage, who only managed to annoy me. Their simultaneous scream-singing made it difficult to hear the orchestra, and I wished they would just shut up. I was less than impressed when they gargled out a tune I actually recognized with that vibrato thing they do. Ruined a nice song.
Ok, I’m a lout. However, after the performance, outside on the grand staircase in the cold night, my eagerly departing self came to an abrupt halt. I had a fleeting impression of a Salvation Army band playing Chrismas carols on the sidewalk in front of the opera house; the image dissolved into three french horn players and a bassoonist playing a beautiful lullaby. Munich has very high-class buskers; what a delight. Laird had to drag me away.
We finished the evening by walking to the elegant Tambosi cafe, passing a busker playing violin in the shadows of a narrow street. His breath steamed, and he wore black cut-out gloves and a dark scarf, and the ends of his pale fingers gleamed as they danced over the instrument. He was Fagin right out of the musical "Oliver", but playing classical music.
Tambosi was lovely. Opera music in the background while we ate our apfelstrudel, and this time I enjoyed it. Just the voice, and quiet instrumentals. I think my major objection to the opera spectacle is that it’s music’s answer to WWF wrestling; opera divas versus the orchestra pit. They really don’t play well together. In my opinion.