Night at the Opera

Loretta: [after seeing La Boheme] That was so awful.
Ronny: Awful?
Loretta: Beautiful… sad. She died!
Ronny: Yes.
Loretta: I was surprised…
You know, I didn’t really think she was gonna die. I knew she was sick.
Ronny: She had TB.
Loretta: I know! I mean, she was coughing her brains out, and still she had to keep singing! 

~from the movie Moonstruck


I’ve always wanted to have an opera moment. The soaring arias, the tragic romances, the swell of the orchestra…what would more romantic than going to the opera with the man that you love?

Unfortunately, getting a man to go to the opera is difficult. Even a man like Ed, who plays the trombone in Sousa concerts and sings baritone in the church choir, did not want to take the love of his life (that would be me) to the opera. Ed won’t even take me to the movies. The opera? Forgitaboutit.

In December, I read a fabulous review of the Lyric Opera’s newest production: Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, never dreaming that I would actually go see it.

It just so happened that shortly after I was lamenting that Ed would never take me to the opera, he happened to hear a radio ad about The Mikado. A couple of years ago, Ed had the opportunity to play the trombone in the pit orchestra for a community Gilbert and Sullivan production. While much of the stories in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas are told in the singing, there is also dialogue. Plus, Gilbert and Sullivan were English, and so their operettas are also in English. Ed discovered that he liked Gilbert and Sullivan.

Gilbert and Sullivan! At the Lyric Opera! Ed definitely won the prize for the perfect and most surprising Christmas gift for his wife — tickets to the Lyric Opera!

I wanted to be prepared to enjoy my gift to the fullest. When I was younger, my sister and I listened and sang a few of the songs from The Mikado, such as Three little maids from school and Tit-Willow, but I wanted to know more. I bought a digital download of the album and put the soundtrack on my pink Sony Walkman. The Mikado started playing in my kitchen all day long.

It wouldn’t have be right to go to the Lyric Opera without a new outfit. On the morning of the opera, I went to Carson’s and found an adorable purple cardigan with ruffles to wear with my gray tweed skirt.

Ed and I drove downtown and had a nice dinner (without children!) before the opera. I wanted to take pictures of the sign and the opera house, but it was a typical winter evening in Chicago: bitterly cold and windy to boot. Ed and I rushed from the restaurant to the Lyric Opera as quickly as we could.

Getting binoculars along with my tickets should have been a hint about the location of our seats, which were in the second balcony. As I eagerly inquired about our spots, the usher told us we needed to go to the sixth floor.

Up the steps we started to walk. We walked up the elaborate staircase to the second floor and looked over the railing at the chandeliers. Below us was the main lobby, where opera goers were enjoying wine before the performance. We continued up the stairs. The soft, cushy red carpeting ended and we continued up the hard, marble steps. All the way up, as far as we could go. To the second balcony we went.

As we entered the balcony, I had a moment of vertigo. The steps going down to our seats were very steep and narrow. It was a looooong way down to the stage!

The Lyric Opera building, however, is fabulous. Although we couldn’t see the faces of the performers very well, the acoustics are incredible. The music was beautiful, the set was amazing, and the performance was simply outstanding. I am not an opera expert, so a review from me would not have much worth. Simply put, Ed and I were awed by the performances of the entire cast.

I simply smiled when Ed declared, “I would definitely do this again!” and my heart said, “Yay!”

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9 Replies to “Night at the Opera”

  1. It sounds like you had a fantastic time. So, do your children now sing all the songs from Mikado all day long now as well?

  2. I love the opera, too! If you go again, I recommend eating at the opera. Yes, you can eat there!Try the Florian Opera Bistro on the third floor. There's no reservation required, and the prices are reasonable. Check out their website: best part was that we were able to eat dinner before the show AND order dessert for intermission. They had our desserts ready for us when we came back at intermission. Very cool!

  3. So cool! I've never been, but after reading this, you make me want to go. Glad your hubby liked it. The steps…argh! I can totally picture it. I've been auditoriums like that and it freaks me out to. I've thought the same thing, like I could totally fall right down!

  4. It's so great when we get them to have an Aha moment. What a great hubs! Glad you enjoyed your opera experience. I love them. They make me melt. Then I have ice cream.

  5. I am glad that you all enjoyed your evening out so much! I have to sheepishly admit here that I am more into musicals than I am operas, much to my husband's disappointment. I'll take one for the team sometimes, though ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. What a wonderful gift he gave you in taking you there! I'm so happy you got to go, and even happier that it won't be the last time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I can imagine an Opera by Gilbert & Sullivan being very good. So glad you got to go and that he might even go again! I miss Carson's, I didn't even know they were still around.

  8. Ed – what a romantic! Don't you love that even after all these years of marriage, our spouses can still surprise us? My husband doesn't like the circus so I go with his grandmother and the kids. She loves spending time with the boys and it has become our special thing – and she has a handicap tag for the car so parking is a breeze!

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