Sunday, October 29, 2006

Opera in St. Paul in the late fall

I have season tickets to the Minnesota Opera with two friends. We go to the Sunday matinee. Today the opera was Tales of Hoffman. I walked to the Ordway Theater a little after noon. The day was sunny and the weather mild enough so I didn't need a jacket, though I had one on. None the less, it is late fall. The trees in the parks in downtown St. Paul are mostly leafless, except for the oaks; the park fountains have been turned off; and holiday lights have been strung.

I arrived at the theater early and sat in the lobby writing and listening to the pre-performance lecture, which included some fine singing. Then I went to our seats and met my friends. We switched to box seats this year, since stairs are getting difficult for one of us. (Not me.) It's more expensive, but a real improvement. We get to sit in real chairs, and there is leg room and a ledge to put things on. If the opera is boring, we can lean back against the railing behind our seats, which is at just the right height to act as a head support, and peacefully doze.

Tales of Hoffman is a truly science fictional opera, with robots and magic. The music is nifty. I had some problems with the staging, as I always do. I think I am a frustrated opera director or set designer. I know how these operas ought to look. I suppose it's a good thing I'm a writer and can control everything about my stories.

I decided after the first act that I'd ignore the problems I had with the staging and concentrate on the plot and music and singing.

When we came out at six, it was getting dark. Green and white holiday lights shone in the trees in front of the theater. We walked to our favorite Japanese restaurant. As we came in the head waiter said, "I was just telling someone that it was time for the three ladies who go to the opera to come in."

We had a nice meal, and I got a ride home; and here I am, feeling happy.


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