Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Night at the Opera

After Venice, Laura and I went to Verona - to go to the opera!!! We bought tickets to see Carmen, and it was performed in this Roman arena! - How cool is that?!!!

(Some of these pictures were taken the night we went to the opera, and the others were taken the next day).

This arena was built sometime during the first century A.D. It is also the 3rd largest amphitheater in the Roman world. People have watched Roman gladiator battles and medieval executions right here. Wow.

The streets next to the arena
The inside of the arena with the stage set up before the show began

The stage - During the show there were lights from one end of the stage to the other, and they looked like rooftops. So the rows between the two wooden structures at each end of the stage were lit up to look like a city. I didn't notice the rooftops at first; I just saw lights. But then I noticed the rooftops, and it was really neat!

We sat next to a couple from England. They were very nice.

Laura and Julia at the opera!

Each year there is an opera festival in Verona. The entire festival opened the previous night, and this was the first night of Carmen. Carmen was written by Bizet, who was a French composer, and it is set in Seville, Spain, which is where Laura studied for a month before meeting me in Germany, and we saw it in Italy!!! - We did read a detailed plot of the opera before we went, so I understood everything that I saw happening, even though I couldn't understand the words!!!

Placido Domingo, one of the famous Three Tenors, was the conductor of Carmen! It was really cool to see him!!!

There are 4 acts in Carmen. The first act was about an hour long, and then we had a 20 minute intermission. The second act started, but at the very end of the first piece of the second act, it started raining. So they finished the last few measures of that piece, and then all the musicians and actors ran for cover. The musicians took their instruments with them, (some people helped to move the 5 harps inside!), and the actors grabbed parts of the set and ran for cover. As the English lady next to us said, she loved watching the ladies (in the expensive seats) in their "posh dresses" run for cover! We didn't run for cover at this point; we just got out the umbrella and waited.

Well, the rain just got worse. It fell harder and harder. So finally we decided to join the others in the insides of the arena. The umbrella was basically pointless by this time. And we had to walk down some stairs to get inside the arena, and there was a waterfall from the rain right at the point where we would actually get under a roof. I tried to use the umbrella for that, but my attempt was futile!!! - We were SOAKED!!!!!

And so was everyone else!!!! It was quite an experience!!! We just laughed and laughed! The great part about it in my mind was that here we were, with all these people - who spoke different languages. Usually, we wouldn't know what kind of experience the other people were having because I don't speak their language. But we didn't need words to understand each other in this situation!!! We were ALL laughing, and we were ALL soaked!!! And we simply didn't need words to understand that! We waited in this cramped space until an announcement was made, (in 3 languages), that the weather was expected to remain rainy, so they canceled the rest of the opera! I was sad that we didn't get to see the rest of the show because I really enjoyed the first act!!

When we walked in to the arena, we saw people walking in on the red carpet, but our tickets were in the cheap section, so there was not a red carpet that led to our seats. However, on our way out, all things equal, we got to stroll out on the red carpet in style, even if we were a little wet!!!!

It was quite a storm because many of these huge flower pots were blown over!!!

Despite the disappointment of not seeing the entire opera, we definitely had a memorable night at the opera!