Friday, January 14, 2011

A Night at the Opera

No, not that one.

State Opera from the Northeast
That's the one...  Looks even better with the rain on the streets doesn't it?  I learned that filmmakers like to shoot night scenes with wet streets, so I had a crew hose them down just for this shot.  Do you like the added touch of the pedestrians holding umbrellas just to make it seem more realistic?

Yesterday was the second time I'd gone to the Vienna State Opera, last time for Turandot.  This time it was Tosca, a Puccini opera set in 1800 in Rome, as Napoleon is threatening the city.  It's as tragic as you might expect, with murder, double-crossing, dramatic suicide, and lots of melodic screaming.  I know almost nothing about opera, but I enjoyed myself, and that's going to have to be enough.

Central entry staircase from balcony section
A big reason to go is just to see the theater, which is gorgeous and of course designed specifically to hear opera.  Built in the mid-1800s in that burst of public building I mentioned before, the house was initially offensive to the Viennese (for its opulence, if I recall), and the architect killed himself before the first performance.  Kind of like an opera plot, actually.

Inside are 5 levels above the main floor, the decor soaked in cream, rich dark red, and gold.  I was on the 4th level above the floor, in what we'd call an obstructed view seat.  Basically, if I leaned over all the way, I could see the left half of the stage.  Unfortunately, most of the action in Act 1 took place on the right half.  Fortunately, each seat comes with a little translator that looks like one of those little LCD screens on 1980s-era word processors.

For the second act, an elderly German lady asked if I'd like to switch seats with her because of her bad knee.  (I was on the aisle)  So, I could see everything from Act 2 on with a bit of a lean.  Photo from the Act 1 intermission below...

Some dork who thinks he's all cultured now


  1. You look like such a nice American. Are you sure you aren't a spy? Lots of spy plots involve old opera houses...

  2. Did I ever say I wasn't? I have enough gadgets to be one...