Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

At the opera


Greetings again, my adoring fans, I have returned refreshed from the all too short spring break with renewed vigor and soulless observations.
The political arena is heating up with the 9/11 commission testimonies, Richard Clarke's allegations of the Bush administration's nonchalance about the terrorist threat, John Kerry's continuing struggle with hair maintenance and of course the plight of the cannibal in modern society.
Instead of elaborating on any of these topics, I am going to do a little personal piece today. A couple weeks ago my beautiful girlfriend and myself attended "Lucia di Lammermoor" at the Bushnell in Hartford. "Lucia..." is an Italian opera by noted composer Gaetano Donnizetti. The opera is probably most popular in the mainstream collegiate world, because one of its songs is used in the Bruce Willis movie, "The Fifth Element."
Now I know that most people aren't too enamored with opera, but I consider my girlfriend and myself as two cultured individuals who appreciate the fine arts, in all incarnations. Not everyone is quite this artistically liberated, which was made evident when a family member assumed homosexuality was the cause for our trip to the opera. This was a tremendously exciting occasion and it was not going to be ruined by any barbaric swine if I could help it. I had received tickets to this opera from my girlfriend as Valentines gift, which was a great surprise and also served to nullify my comparatively generic and thoughtless flowers, chocolates, and picture frame. In any event, there we were, dressed to kill and full of pretentious attitude en route to our future as ridiculously wealthy elitist snobs with a taste for the arts. Perhaps one day my name will be in bold letters as a Maestro, in my patronage to these artistic venues.
The plot of this opera is similar to "Romeo and Juliet", only in Italian with some differences in the details. This is one of the most dark and morbid operas of the 1800s. The classic "mad scene" of this piece is what stuck out in my mind as the most total affirmation of the operatic arts. In a world full of homogenized, prefabricated pop bands and, with a few exceptions, no real original music being created it is satisfying to know that classic works of music are still being celebrated. I say that the notion of opera as something for old people or the ridiculously wealthy is false, and it robs our generation of a sense of taste and culture.
The poster children for the uncultured buffoons of our age group just happened, by some stroke of unfortune, to be sitting right next to us at the performance. A Rob Zombie looking gentleman wearing a tasteless and out of place orange dress shirt and ill-fitting suit was a perfect representation for all that is wrong in the world. Upon first glance I wondered if he was perhaps a patron of the arts and his unkempt appearance was simply an unfortunate by-product of this artistic sensibility. It later became clear to both my girlfriend and myself that this was the face of the enemy. In between playing his game-boy in the first act and asking us if we thought the ceiling was really made of gold or just painted that way, were his snorts of complaint that he had to sit through an entire performance. Lucky for him there were two 20-minute intermissions where in the mezzanine lobby I noted him clinging to his Bud Light while his equally classy female companion clutched to her Heineken.
Dammit people, when attending such an event one must never lapse in to the libation habits of a common football game or keg party. This is a place of culture where martinis are shaken, not stirred, manhattans are up, and there are no garnishes aside from the lone lime slice in the gin and tonic and above all, no cute props such as umbrellas or pirate swords protruding from the top of any glass. This fit of indecency was matched only by those wearing jeans and flannels in attendance. There is no repenting for the reprehensible action. I was tempted to alert these people that the laws of etiquette demand they return to their RV in the parking lot and put on some respectable attire or return to the trailer park whence they came. These eyesores were particularly irksome when I was as dashing and handsome as ever in my black suit, CK shirt, and moderate-republican light blue tie, and my girlfriend was as sophisticated and elegant as any woman in the hall. I had hoped that the performance would shoo away these characters because the ability to read was a prerequisite for the show. The opera, being sung in Italian, was subtitled on a screen above the stage.
Regardless of the actions and overall presence of these individuals the show was the most beautiful live performance I've ever seen. I recommend that everyone allow themselves this luxury at least once. I understand that opera may not be everyone's forte, but the awesome power of the voices, the beauty of the language and atmosphere of the performance allow for an evening of unparalleled enjoyment.


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