A night at the Opera

Last weekend Rocksey and I had a weekend of culture. Starting on Friday evening when we went to the Opera to see a version of Bizets Carmen. I have seen this particular opera many times and it is one of my favourites, i think perhaps as the heroine of the storey is a gutsy , independant woman and doesn’t die of consumption at the end ( like most ), instead runs into the knife of her former lover rather than let him kill her. 

Rocksey always now accompanies me to the Opera or the Ballet, he long ago figured that as I have very little demands in the way of the entertainment that I particularly like then there is nothing to gain by refusing to go . As the wife of a rock star , my life tends to be filled with the ego of Rocksey and the trials and tribulations of life on the road, off the road and generally pretty much all encompassed by being in a rock band . My treats happen maybe 2 or 3 times a year  – as Opera generally in the UK is not as popular as it would appear to be in mainland Europe.

An other aspect, sadly lacking, is the ‘dressing up’ of going to such a grand occasion. Many years ago, and even when I originally started to go to the Opera, both men and women used it as an excuse to dress up – and I mean really dress up- black tie, long dresses and the likes. I am sure in the grand Opera Houses of London, Paris and Sydney to name only a few these events are still glitzy and glamorous – maybe not so much in our provincial home town! However, it is still a treat night out and we may not be dressed up completely to the nines but an effort has been made and I must say, both Rocksey and I scrub up well on the occasion we needs to.

A friend of mine asked me on Friday, how I had ‘got in’ to going to the Opera. Well, my first time very nearly was my last. At the tender age of 23, whilst living in Brigthon, a male friend and I decided to try something different and  forgoing a gig or a night at the pub we went off to see Wagners epic  ‘the Flying Dutchman’. Not a beginners opera, sung in German without an intermission. We sat through the evening  in slience, both wondering what on earth we had let ourselves in for and not daring to leave our seats as the remainder of the large audience sat in respectful rapturous silence. Actually looking back, it may have been that everyone else was an uncomfortable as we were-also not wanting to appear a philistine by leaving early! I have never re-visited Wagner, however, not to be put off, I accepted invitaions to Gynebourne to watch contemprary Operas, one with naked cast members artfully draped over and around various stage props (to this day I have no idea what this particular Opera was about or indeed its name- or even why I was there –  dressed obviously- although some members of the audience also shed their clothes to get the ‘maximum experience’). 

Finally a gay friend introduced me to La Boheme and I was hooked. I have never since sat at an Opera waiting for the final curtain, although I do restrict myself to the classics and always read up on the story line prior to going so I have a general jist of whats going on. Operas are best sung in their native language, English does not translate well and you then have the feeling of watching musical theatre instead.

So back to Friday night and the concert hall was pretty much sold out. We had a cocktail in the bar and took our seats, exchanged pleasantries with the neighbouring occupiers and settled down to be transported to 19c Seville for a couple of hours. The Opera was split into 4 Acts and normally Rocksey is restless at the beginning and towards the end. Being tall he finds the seats in old theatres a little on the small side and after a while starts to feel cramped and hemmed in. However athough totally engrossed in the goings on on the stage it didnt escape my  notice that Rocksey wasn’t his ususal fidgety self and on sneaking a glance at him during Act 3 he also appears to be totally engrossed.

After the show we walk back to the car park hand in hand. Did you enjoy that I ask. Yes Rocksey nods enthusiastically ‘ especially Act 3 when the double bass player lost his music and the Harpist had to bend the  sheets over to stop them from falling off the stand’  . I look at him quizzically. It turns out and Rocksey confesses that he is always more interested in the orchestra than the actual players themselves and in the seats we were in he had a good view of the musicians. The double bass player had caught his eye when his music sheets started to fall from the stand and left Rocksey totally fascinated in how he continued to play unperturbed as the Harpist gathered them up and bent them over to stop them falling. True professionals Rocksey started up the car – carry on regardless and hope no one spots the mistakes!.

Well I certainly hadn’t noticed and  so I guess it takes a musician to know a musician.

Saturday night we went to see a friends band performing at a pub. The room was full of people we know, like being at a party  where the atmosphere and company are good. The band made a few mistakes, no one noticed. Everyone was having too good a time to care, the band continued to play even when a wrong rift was played or the same verse sang twice. 

True professionals – carry on and no-one notices – Rocksey says to me when they have finished. 

Rocksey has a gig next week himself – I can’t wait to see if I can spot any mistakes and if so -will anyone else? 


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