(Sincere thanks to Dasha for the opportunity and Diana for sitting next to two dirty hippies.)
I must admit that, though traveling is a passion of mine, and in some sense, I do wish to experience the culture of the places I visit, the opera never really even made a blip on my radar of things in which to partake, regardless of how a certain population felt about it. In addition to this admission, I also confess to feeling slightly uncultured (in the upper-crust, monocle-d sense of the world) for not wanting to see, or more specifically, hear one, for thinking that costumed swooners belting out three hours worth of melodic insert foreign language of choice might not be my cup of tea.
Hey, I’ll be frank: I’ve tried many a cup of tea in my travel days. There is green tea and milky tea and jasmine tea and Earl Grey tea and apple tea, green tea with honey, green tea with ginseng, ginseng tea…(You see what I was doing there. Ha, ha. Forrest Gump.) Anyway, you put a cup of tea in front of me, I’ll give a swig. However, there have always been certain experiences I’ve done without: I never went a Turkish bath while in Istanbul, never attended a Semana Santa parade while in Guatemala, never tried dog while living in Korea (I was going to but mysteriously turned vegetarian). So, how in the hell did I end up at an opera in Moscow?
It began by agreeing to go to a ballet, something that is no more macho, but somehow, by virtue of leotards and instrumental music, seemed palatable for my differently-refined (let’s not say unrefined) Louisiana taste buds. We bought tickets to Swan Lake, which I hear is a big one and which I know a little about via the recent film Black Swan, which in turn I own up to having enjoyied, despite the repercussions that may follow from my more manly fan-base (It has girls kissing, guys. Be cool.). Then, Emma got sick, and we didn’t go. For a while, it seemed we would forgo the Russian theatre experience all together.
The Russian theatre ranks pretty freaking high on the “things to do while in Moscow” list. It’s the equivalent of New York and a Broadway show, or an Off-Broadway show, or at the very least, an Off-Off-Broadway show. It’s the equivalent to Bourbon Street and exposed breasts: Some things just have to happen to say you’ve really been somewhere. So, when Dasha, our Russian confidant and guide to the theatre scene, surprised us with two tickets to L’elisir d’Amore, ensuring that we would in fact experience the theatre in Moscow, I could only say thank you, and despite the recoil of my ear canal, somehow I meant it.
Last night, I saw my first opera, and it was…pretty okay. It was what some things should be and should be done for: The right to say I’ve been there. Truthfully, I’ve attempted watching silent films, the old black-and-whites, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton type affairs, and I got it, even enjoyed them, but just didn’t care to participate like the true aficionado. The opera was much the same: I can appreciate the talent, both of the orchestra and the singers, and the ambience created by…the orchestra and the singers, the theatre itself, the old world charm and the drapery. I’m just never going to be a regular supporter of this particular performing art.
And, that’s okay. And, I’m glad to have gone. And, I still mean my thank you to Dasha, especially if and when she reads this. And, I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore because I’ve been there and saw/heard that, which gives me the right to continue my quest of watching every episode of The Family Guy, still feeling sufficiently cultured (in that upper-crust, monocle-d way). And, it gives me the right to not go to another one or, at the very least, protest should the situation ever arise. And, I can say that I liked it, kind of, in an I-was-able-to-follow-the-story-line,-isn’t-that-good? sort of declaration. And, I can honestly say that I don’t feel any more worldly than before. Close curtains.