Stephen: Everyone's always like, "Puccini? He's no Verdi," but I'm like, "Fuck that!"
The opera was Tosca, produced by the Portland Opera, conducted by Joesph Colaneri, performed at the Keller Auditorium.
I was glad Stephen enjoyed the show - glad we both enjoyed the show but most glad for Stephen, since originally he was supposed to be in the show as a super but was cut for being too tall. To thank him for volunteering for the production, the nice folks at the Portland Opera gave him two tickets to the dress rehearsal. Luckily, the part he was going to play would have lasted all of ten seconds so it wasn't that big a loss. When it came down to it, ten seconds of pointing a fake gun at Cavaradossi wouldn't have compared to getting to see the whole performance - one which has special significance to us both since it was the opera we saw the night we got engaged.
I won't go into a long, drawn out review of the performance because my time is pretty tight right now. I mostly started writing this because I wanted to quote Stephen's comment above. [Which I will say he followed up with all sorts of fascinating information about Puccini and Tosca, with nary another f-bomb.] But I will say it felt to my layman's brain like a strong, solid production. The orchestra sounded great, Cavaradossi [Roger Honeywell] hit lovely high notes [he wasn't as strong in the lower range, although to be fair, this was a dress rehearsal, so he may have been marking], and Tosca [Kara Shay Thomson] sang with not only beauty but the power the role expects. When Tosca was enraged or horrified, her sound was huge and chilling.
Luckily for me, I've got a brain like a colander, so even though I'd seen the opera before, almost every moment in the story was new to me. I remembered how it began and how it ended, but some of the other big moments sneaked up on me - like the close to the first act, which was out of this world. If I had to say I was disappointed in anything, it was the tiny moment just before ... well, the thing that happens at the end. Maybe it was because it was the one big moment I remembered and had been waiting for, but it didn't have the impact that it did the first time I saw Tosca.
If I had to say I was disappointed in anything else, it was the giggler who sat behind us. There were two gigglers, really, but one was the real offender. There's a lot of nice humor in the first act of this production of Tosca, so in the beginning the giggling didn't bug me too much, but it started to build - along with whispered conversation back and forth - and didn't seem to want to taper off even once the mood of the opera moved into deeper and darker places. At first intermission we looked back to see who our giggler was, and she was sitting there looking at her cell phone with one leg crossed over the other like a man watching football, gauzy green dress draped across her knees, and I think if Stephen had had any plans to say something to her about the giggling, that evaporated in the moment of nearly looking up her skirt.
We were able to find new seats for the third act so we could at least watch the climax in silence, but the above brings me to my second quote for the evening, which I'll leave you with. Our short discussion about the things Stephen imagined doing to the giggler.
Stephen: Number one - grabbing her cell phone and running into the men's room and throwing it in the trash. Or number two - you saw the way she was sitting? Pulling her shoe off and running into the men's room and dropping it in the toilet.
It's not the drama of murder and death by firing squad, but we all have our own stories to tell.
Tosca plays today at 2 o'clock, Thursday the 7th at 7:30 and one final performance on Saturday the 9th at 7:30.