Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tosca-My First Opera

At the top of the hill is the original city wall, Porto Romano that borders the gardens and the Medici Palace. The opera was held near the city wall in the garden.
Before the show
After the show

Last night I attended my first opera, and I am sure it won’t be my last. I have grown to love classical music over the years, and once I heard Andrea Bocelli, opera has been an interest. Opera is not extremely popular in the United States, and particularly in Nashville, although with the addition of the Schermerhorn, I think there are plans to introduce it. I have often thought of seeing an opera while visiting New York, but there are so many options there, it never hit the top of the list.

Opera and Italy go together, and now since I am taking language classes, it is a good way to check my understanding.

Purchasing the tickets was an interesting task. First of all, I went on line, and saw that I could purchase tickets there, but I was on line on Monday and wanted to attend on Tuesday, so I had missed the deadline. The Opera Festival in Florence is held at The Boboli Gardens, at the Pitti Palace, home of the Medici Family. It is a beautiful outdoor venue with a lovely sculpture garden, and the air is filled with jasmine.

My second choice for purchasing tickets was a venue called The Box Office. This is an independent store which sells tickets for all types of events in Florence and the surrounding areas. It is located near the train station, which is on the other side of town from me.....a 20 minute walk. I set out when school was dismissed to purchase tickets for Regine and I. She had given me direction to the location, but I had some trouble finding it, so my walk to get there was about 40 minutes on a 90 degree day. Hot! Once I got there, I was so happy to be able to request the tickets in Italian for the venue, date, number of tickets and location that I wanted. When it was time to pay for the tickets, I pulled out my credit card, only to find out that the only method of payment accepted here is an Italian bankcard. I have a bank card, but it is not on an Italian bank, so they would not accept it. I don’t know why. Anyway, no tickets. They told me I could purchase them at the entrance to the theater 1 hour before the performance.

Regine and I met at the Neptune at 7:00 and walked to the garden entrance which was a 30 minute walk. Thankfully, the weather had cooled substantially, almost 30 degrees cooler, and we needed a sweater. We arrived and purchased the tickets, had a couple of glasses of wine, and then the opera began. It was really beautiful. The evening was perfect, cool breezes, blue skies. The sets were simple, and the songs magnificent with a wonderful orchestra. I was not familiar with the libretto of the opera, but with the little Italian that I have, was able to follow the simple story line. I was familiar with some of the music, too bad for the male lead, because I was familiar with them because I have CD’s of Andrea Bocelli and he sings the arias from Tosca. As far as I am concerned, no one could live up to that.

The opera was in 3 sets, with 20 minute breaks between, so it started at 9:15, and was not over until 12:15. We walked home through the city, which I love at night, and it was a wonderful evening.

In August, Regine and I have plans to go to Verona to see La Traviata at the ancient theater there. I can’t wait!

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