There is something to be said about appreciating tradition and history in the arts.
That’s why attending an opera, musical or theater production was designated #18 on my list of 26 Things. I did it because, while I enjoy the vast majority of art created from digital and technological sources, I was craving something live and authentic.
Last weekend I was invited to go see PortOpera's production of The Daughter of the Regiment in Portland, Maine. It was the first opera I had ever attended so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but was excited to enjoy the ambiance of theater and great music.
Two great things that I was told to do to be able to follow the story (and that is important for all newbie opera admirers to know):
1. Read the synopsis in the program. You'll get a better idea of what's happening in the story as it progresses
2. There will be a translation provided to you at the top of the stage or on the back of your chair.
As the leading lady in The Daughter of the Regiment, Ashley Emerson (who is from Bangor, Maine) and the male lead, Andrew Bidlack, took the stage for their musical debuts of the night my general appreciation for raw musical talent grew. These voices were cutting through the air and into your ears as though that was the very reason these people were put on earth. They were wonderful. The scenes themselves were modern – English was spoken and the performers actions were light and funny.
I’m happy that my introduction to opera was a script filled with folly instead of something filled with dark, dramatic “these are the days of our (opera) lives” death feel. Seriously, laughter is always a good thing and, from what I understand, can be hard to find in a well-developed and appreciated opera.
So, through the overture and the songs and the funny costumes on stage, I had a wonderful night and I’m truly grateful to those who took me as their guest.
Side note: As we were leaving it was mentioned that the song Ah! Mes Amis, with 9 high C’s, was one of the roles that made Pavarotti famous, so of course I had to look it up. And sure enough, it’s music to your ears. Here is aBBC Documentary Clip.