The first act was fine: I didn't understand a word but the music was pleasantly distracting, if a little repetitive (Why did they have to keep singing Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni ... over and over?). At the end of the first act I turned to the lady, smiled and nodded approvingly. She did the same.
'Let's get a drink,' she said.
Twenty minutes and a G&T later we settled into our seats. But this time I just couldn't take it. I don't know whether it was the gin, or the late nights catching up with me, but I was overwhelmed by a feeling of complete and utter boredom. Within five minutes I was fast asleep.
At the end of the performance my date elbowed me awake and told me I'd been snoring. She said I'd embarassed her, and that she would not be accompanying me to the opera or any other form of high brow entertainment ever again.
Not that I was bothered, my relationship with the girl had run its course, and as far I was concerned my relationship with the opera was a one night stand.
For twenty one years my opinion of opera didn't change -- until last Friday night.
My wife had tickets for the Barber of Seville at the Emirates Palace Auditorium and, reluctantly, I was going. The Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice and the Coro del Teatro La Fenice were in town for the Abu Dhabi Classics season and a one off performance in the UAE. 'It'll be wonderful,' I was assured.
And it was.
The orchestra were decked out in white tie and tails, and beautiful evening gowns; the singers in natty Italian suits and Valentino dresses. There were no props or costumes, they just belted it out. The music was sublime; not a duff note anywhere. At one point Vincenzo Taormina sang Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, over and over again, but for some reason, this time, the repitition didn't bother me -- in fact I liked it!
At the end the performers received a well deserved standing ovation. I turned to my wife, nodded and smiled knowingly. At least this time I wasn't going to be dumped for snoring.