Monday, August 02, 2010

Marrying Figaro off by the Lake

Pam and I checked 'opera' off our list last Friday.

We had spent the day in town with my brother and his wife, celebrating his birthday. They headed home in early evening, so Pam and I ventured up the west side of the lake and stopped at the Glimmerglass Opera House. We did not know what was playing, but the trolley driver had said that generally tickets are available for evening performances.

The opera that evening was Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. We decided to stay, ordered fruit and cheese from the concession stand, and sat in on a preview talk by the Opera’s Music Director. The latter was well worth it, as he contrasted ‘Figaro’ with other operas, talked about the flow of the music with the performance on the stage, played one of the primary aria’s and discussed its role in the play.

Available tickets ranged from $126 to $86; I caught my breath, turned down the $24 ‘obstructed view’ seats, and bought tickets in the back row on the first level. The theater is wonderful, and our seats were centered nicely. A small screen above the stage gave brief English translations of the primary theme for each song.

The problem was that it took Mozart over three hours to marry Figaro and Susanna, and far too many hijinks and mistaken identities had to be carried out first. We bolted at the first clap of the final curtain.

It was a gorgeous night, at least. The intermission happened at about 10PM, and we stood outside under the black sky littered with stars. We needed wraps and sweaters, in a mid-summer sort of way.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Junk Cruising, 4:00AM

I was awakened at 4:00AM Thursday morning by the sound of an open car door signal – that incessant ‘ding-ding’ that occurs if you leave your door open with the keys still in the ignition. A large sedan was parked in the middle of the street with two doors and the trunk open. The headlights were still on, pointing askew into our neighbor’s yard. A guy was holding a flashlight above his head, shining it on the trunk where he appeared to be tinkering with something. I could not figure out what he was doing. My mind kept rolling back to a friend's description of cars being robbed in their neighborhood last week.

Then I noticed that the old gas grill was not sitting on the side of the street, where I had left it. I put my glasses on to clarify the view through my open window. The guy had crammed the grill, standing up, in his trunk. He was tying the trunk lid to something so it didn’t bounce around.

Junk cruising at 4:00AM. He didn’t care about the dinging door, or the headlights, or the clanking of an old grill. He did care to beat the garbage truck.

Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what
Even if we knew
we would not admit.

From Erica Jong's poem, "You Are There".