Sunday, August 22, 2010

Orpheus in the Underworld?

My father and step-mother are huge musical performance fans; symphony orchestra, music festivals, you get the idea. Every year they attend the opera. In fact my first encounter with a live operatic performance was when their usual friend could not attend…and I had a wonderful experience.

This year they again had tickets for the several performances during the summer where they meet their friends, have a picnic dinner, and then attend the opera.

About two weeks went by before we had a chance to enjoy a dinner together to catch up on what we’ve been doing. While chatting, my step-mother brought me up to speed on how they enjoyed the last several opera performances.

The first opera they had attended this season was Orpheus in the Underworld, by Offenbach; and she told me how great the performance was, that the orchestra was outstanding, the stage set was rich and beautifully designed, a gorgeous sight and very well done. Then she went on to tell me of the next week where the performance that evening was Madame Butterfly. “Oh” I asked (having seen it once before) “How was it?” “Well,” she said, “It was awful; they presented it as a ‘minimalist’ type of performance; the stage was bare, just a white curtain…it was just terrible…your father and I did not enjoy it at all!” “What a shame,” I said, “I so enjoyed the performance I saw when I went with you a couple of years ago.” My step-mother continued, “The producers must have overspent on the first performance, and had nothing left to spend on Madam Butterfly.”

Then she said “They spent all their money on hell, and had nothing left for anything else!”

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