Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Big Digital Goes to the Opera

Long-time readers may recall that a few years ago in the monthly discussion group I attend, we had a discussion about Opera. Finally, a year and a half later, I actually have gone to see an opera. And I have to say that for the most part I really enjoyed it. A friend who works with the Utah Opera and Symphony invited me to join her last night for a performance of "Carmen" at the Capitol Theatre here in Salt Lake. I said, "Why not?" and last night showed up in my Sunday best ready to get me somma dat culture stuff. :)

Turns out that working for the opera has its perks. We sat on the first row in the balcony. Amazing seats! I could see everything perfectly, including the orchestra and conductor who were definitely interesting to watch. My favorite was the guy who spent most of his time playing the tambourine. Do you have to practice to play the tambourine?

In addition to great seats, we also were able to go to a VIP reception at intermission where they had free food, including caviar on tiny potato skin things. So I figured I should at least try some since I'd never had any. The funny thing is that maybe I ate it wrong or something, but all I could taste was the potato. Huh. Anyway, this reception was deep in the bowels of the theater. I swear we went down 4 flights of stairs to get to it. I asked Melissa if we were going to a secret underground lake.

I seemed to remember that Carmen might have been one of the operas that our presenter that night suggested as being good for first-time opera goers. If so, he was right. As soon as the music started, I recognized two super famous pieces. I didn't know their names (do opera songs have names?), but one was a tune that I mostly commonly associate with the "Bad News Bears"
and the other was a tune that I commonly think of as "Neither a borrower nor a lender be". Some quick Googling indicates that I think that because there was an episode of Gilligan's Island in which the castaways performed a musical version of Hamlet set to music from Carmen. Okay....

Anyway, here's the prelude from YouTube, I suspect you'll recognize the music:

The first part of the prelude shows up again briefly in the final Act, but I don't know what it's called. The "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" tune is called Toreador and here's the scene from Act II (its 7 minutes long, so don't feel like you have to watch the whole thing):

In the first act, you also get this famous tune (apparently called "La Habanera"):

Finally a thought on the plot of the opera. **SPOILER ALERT** Carmen is this hot chick who messes up a guy's life (gets him sent to jail and then to desert the army) and then dumps him for the next hot thing that comes along. He kills her out of jealousy, one of those "If I can't have you, no one can, kind of things". So, I guess the take home lesson is, ladies, 1) don't date psychos, and 2) if you make the guy psycho, I guess it's partly your fault when he stabs you to death. :)


Angie G said...

I think your synopsis of Carmen along with the life lessons should be used in the official marketing... Nice lessons, Jake.. nice.

Natalie Tripp said...

I saw Marriage of Figaro at BYU my freshman year....yeah I don't recommend that one, but I've heard Carmen is definitely one of the better operas to see. Now if only I could find a rich boy to take me...and a free schedule in which I have time to go...