Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Night At The Opera

Ask anyone who has known me a few years and they will tell you.  When it comes to my preference in music, it's primarily good time, get-off-your-butts and dance, rock and roll.  By example, from about 1979....
But that's not to say I've not been open to other kinds of music.  Jazz, blues, country, Latin, as long as it's played well, I'll listen. 
So last weekend I surprised Indra with two tickets to the opera being presented at the local classical theater of choice in Merida, Teatro Peon Contreras.  The opera: the well-known (by those in the know) Barber of Seville.
It's an Opera Bufa, which means "musical comedy".  The tickets were available for Sunday evening and wouldn't you know it:  the the handy-dandy senior discount card got us 1/2 off.
Dressed in our opera finery, we composed ourselves and drove into the big city, not knowing what to expect except an interesting evening.
Before we get to the music, let's take a look at the hall.
This is the theater on Calle 60, between 57 and 59.  Built 102 years ago, it is the showplace for the Yucatan Symphony, opera, ballet, and many other performing arts.
The seating layout shows the arrangement of the almost 700 seats...
 Our seats were located on the first balcony, section six on the right of the diagram.  Each of these had a separate entrance from the hallway in back and contained 6 chairs which could be arranged as we needed.  For my 6'7" frame, this meant I could make my own leg room which was a treat.
I made this panorama shot from here.  Double-click on it to get the full effect...
Looking across at the little cherubs that separated the first from the second balcony, we noticed one was wearing a derby!  This shot is a little grainy...
So we all settled in and listened to the orchestra in the pit tuning up.  There wasn't much else to do but people watch and leaf through the program to get a sense of who was singing and what they were going to be singing about...
A glance upward to the ceiling brought on certain "Phantom of the Opera" appropriate...
Then, the lights dimmed and we were underway.
This is the star of the show singing the part of Figaro, Jose Adan Perez, a Mexican native who is now with the Los Angeles Opera.  His story is a fascinating one, and my friends over at Yucatan Living have a great interview with him you can read here. 
The bad news was, being written by a guy named Rossini, the whole thing was sung in Italian.  The good news was that subtitles were projected above the stage.  The bad news was they were in Spanish.  No matter, we got the gist of the story and it didn't affect the full-throttle sound of the Yucatan Symphony blending with the wonderful voices entertaining us.

I'll leave it to the experts to comment on the musical and technical aspects of the performance.  I would encourage anyone who is interested to periodically check into what performances are on tap and take in a night at the theater.
More later,

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