There is something about first times. I suppose that it’s all about fear and excitement. I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect. I discovered opera a few years ago (I blogged about it here). Fast forward a few years, and going to the opera has become a much longed-for treat. I am trying to see as many as I can. Cosi Fan Tutte, La Traviata, Carmen , Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Don Juan, Le Dialogue des Carmelites…Watching a performance is therapeutic. During an opera, you feel for the characters, you live with them for a short while, you just forget about yourself. It is a journey, you have to let go of your own emotions and listen. And yes, it can give you goosebumps.
I had been told that it might be time to go to a Wagner opera. I wasn’t sure. You see, I was put off by the duration, and I was scared to see something too loud or too intense. I was hesitating. I thought that Wagner was only for hardcore opera fans, and I didn’t think I was one. A friend of mine spotted that there was a performance of Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg at the ENO. He told me we should go. I booked some tickets, and off we went.
Yep, you read that right. It happened a few years ago and it is time for me to come clean about it. To cut a long story short, we had managed to get opera tickets to see the Bolshoi at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I am ashamed to admit that it was my very first opera in a foreign language (we French tend to stick to what we know). In my defence, this is also because I grew up in a small village in Provence, and opera was the last thing on everybody’s mind. In fact, I had been lucky to see a couple of performances. That day, we were seeing Eugene Onegin. I didn’t know what to expect. I had read that the story had been written by Pushkin, and the music by Tchaikovsky. It was all I knew.
We sat down. Attending a performance in such beautiful settings was already a rare treat. The music started, and we were introduced to the feisty Olga and her sister Tatyana. Because don’t get this opera wrong: it was not about the selfish and cynical Eugene Onegin. It was all about the lovely Tatyana, who had decided to pour her heart in a love letter to Eugene Onegin, only to be left crushed and rejected.