Curtain Time 7:30

Somewhere in Maryland  the father-in-law of a good friend is seriously ill—a few days ago he was air-lifted to a hospital.

My friend Peter—probably the most literate man I know personally at this time in my life—and his beautiful wife Brenda had tickets to see Don Giovanni at the magnificent Paramount Theater—on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall—this evening. As they were preparing to rush up to Maryland Peter called me and offered me the 4 tickets since they wouldn’t be able to use them.

I was concerned for Peter and his wife but at the same time delighted and VERY grateful, to be able to see this beloved opera at this grand, fully restored theater dating from the 1930s.

The next door neighbors—Jack & Laurie had previous plans so I asked my good friend Page if she wanted to go and bring a friend. She did have a friend who enjoyed opera but that person couldn’t make it. Page said she would go but at 7:29 PM we were still looking for her out front of the theater. She never did show—as I type this I don’t know what happened. I expect she’ll call tomorrow to explain.

I hadn’t attended an opera in probably 30 years and was excited to be able to go to one. When I was a young man in college I wanted to try everything that was absent from my blatantly blue-collar upbringing in the gritty, depressing and polluted, heavy-industry town of Rome, NY. The closest thing to culture I was exposed to growing up was going to the movies Saturday mornings, my mom’s “True Confessions” magazines and Dad’s John Phillip Sousa marches on the record-player. All through high school I devoured escapist fiction—Science-fiction, the Tarzan books, I went through a horror & paranormal period.

After the army and in college I got to know people who did weird things like purchase season tickets to performing arts theaters where I became acquainted with classical concerts, plays—Shakespeare and others—and opera. It was a heady and exciting period in my life.

The performance by the Ash Lawn Opera Company was wonderful. The voices of the singers who played the principle characters were astonishing—range, purity and just plain power were most impressive.

For those not familiar with the opera I won’t go into the story line itself much except to say it’s a morality play with some serious philosophical implications. The main character, Don Giovanni (based on the mythical Don Juan) is a self-congratulatory, world-class, narcissist and womanizer who uses and betrays everyone around him solely for his own base amusement and selfish gratification. Eventually those he has abused find him out and he is punished by a vengeful apparition. Even as he faces death and eternal damnation he defiantly refuses to repent, dies a painful death and is flung into hell. It is this last development and dramatic resolution that has inspired so much philosophical discussion and explication. If you’re interested in further commentary click on this link:

and click on the link at the end of these remarks if you want to listen to the overture and a bit of the 1st act.

After the performance (which to this not-terribly-knowledgeable fan seemed impeccable,) Joanie & I had ice cream at a nearby ice cream parlor and discussed the production. We look forward to the company’s next performance which will be “Brigadoon.”

As we made our way back to our car we ran into the two lead male lead singers and were lucky enough to be able to shake their hands and thank them for an amazing evening’s entertainment.

The image attached to these comments was shot while we were waiting for the overture to begin (great orchestra by the way!). I glanced up and found the play of light from the stage lights interesting and a bit mystical. Hope you find it at least momentarily diverting

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2 Responses to “Curtain Time 7:30”

  1. Carole Kipp Says:

    Loved it! I have only been to one opera in my lifetime, Madame Butterfly. Thanks for posting this.

  2. orion Says:

    Hi Carole–thank you–as I think I’ve mentioned before–people commenting on this site means a lot to me. Yes–it was a wonderful evening. Unless you’re a real opera buff the key is studying the opera, knowing the story and what all the songs mean. See you Thursday night.

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