Night at the Opera II

I was a little suspicious when Ed told me to try on the new oven mitts. he had just given me for my birthday. But I put one on anyway. “Buka Buka!” I said, making my mitt talk to my giggling girls.

“You’d better try on the other one, too, just in case!” Ed said. Okaaaaay…now I was more than a little suspicious! So I tried on the other oven mitt, and pulled out two tickets to the opera! I guess he was serious last year when he told me he would go to the opera again.

When the day of the opera finally arrived, I looked into the mirror and carefully applied eye liner. I had to laugh that while I was preparing to go listen to Verdi’s Aida, my children were blasting Taylor Swift’s CD in my bedroom.

As Ed and I sat in our car on the Kennedy, we could see the Chicago skyline glistening in the late afternoon sun. But we weren’t getting any closer to our destination; we were stuck in gridlock traffic! We could have taken the ‘L’, but getting onto a dirty train dressed in our opera finery was not appealing.

We finally arrived at the restaurant, 30 minutes late. Fortunately, there was still a table for us. When our food was served, I took a bite right away…I was starving! When Ed said his seafood stew looked so pretty, I had to have him take a picture…it did look pretty! (It was called something much fancier on the menu, but I will never be able to remember what it was. Seafood stew will have to do.)

Ed's seafood stew

It was a lovely evening and we strolled hand-in-hand to the Lyric Opera House. The vestibule was full of people trying to get in; men were out front holding up fingers for the number of tickets they needed. Aside from the tuxedos and heels, it was almost like a sporting event.

We made it to our seats, and the music began. Ah! It was so beautiful! Hearing a live orchestra is so wonderful; the singers were amazing; the whole experience…amazing! I don’t even want to try to find a recording to share with you, because it just wouldn’t be the same as a live performance.

Aidahas four acts, and there were two intermissions. Part of the fun of going to the opera is people watching; we saw men in tuxedos and T-shirts; women in furs; some fabulous dresses and some not so fab.

View from the Mezzanine
View from the Mezzanine

We both came home with stars in our eyes. *sigh*

If you were able to go to an opera or musical, what would you like to see?


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!”