Saturday, December 15, 2012

AIDA - More Preamble

I was at the opera because Rebecca told Maneesha and me that she would be at the cinema in Victoria, Saturday at 9 a.m., Pacific Standard Time to hear AIDA. She also said she would have popcorn and pop at her side and luxuriate in the four stolen hours listening to Verdi. I decided if she could steal the time from Christmas, I could too.

I don't know what Rebecca was doing, but I was engaged in a lot of reflection at the opera. Thinking that as a child, I never dreamed that I would be this close to hearing opera live from the New York Met. I was also remembering that my mother told me she heard her first radio signal when she was about 8.

Well, she really didn’t hear anything. She went to the neighbours in Raymond, AB who had a radio and they let her listen in on some earphones. “Did you hear music,” they asked. She nodded, afraid to tell them she only heard static. Strange for me now to imagine a world only one generation back where there was no radio and no T.V

Other fantastic things happened at the opera on Saturday. When I asked Tonia to tell me how what we were watching fits into tourism, I heard a lovely essay fall from her lips about cultural tourism, what it means to travellers. As well, Tonia and I have had the common experience of visiting Egypt. We had a shared discussion as to how an experience of viewing costuming, temples, and iconography in person lines up with seeing the details of it on the wide screen. We agree that we wouldn’t want to miss either experience.

I am skirting around the issue of talking about the opera -- so much else was happening at the theatre. For those of you who saw it, how about going into the Met archives to look at the costuming of former Aida diva’s, and seeing the programme fronts!  And what a treasure to see the score annotated with stage and performer cues and to hear the story of the cue man who wore a fascinator on his earphones.

I was wondering as I was watching the opera about the legions of soldiers marching past me on stage, checking to see if I could recognize those from a former troop. At the same time, I was remember a story my Uncle Val told me about a man who sold sheep in southern Alberta. The buyer could not trust that the sheep owner had given him the correct number of sheep that he was purchasing and asked to have them march before him so that he could count them. The seller had his sheep walk one by one in front of the buyer, at the same time, circling them around a small hill on the farm, so that they walked by the buyer twice. Val told hundreds of stories. Obvious why that one popped into my head at that minute.

I loved seeing the horses backstage given a treat; wouldn’t have wanted to miss the live interviews with the stars.  Just loved it that English as a first language of the performers only belonged to the trumpeter from the Bronx – how cool was that.

Four hours of opera and it seemed like only minutes.


1 comment:

  1. Love that photo. The colours. The angles of the heads.

    Love the image too of the sheep circulating twice. Hard to out-wit someone who is focused on deception.