I’ve been to the opera before. Quite a few times actually. So why, I hear you ask, does this night at the opera warrant inclusion in the 50shadesofbrave blog?
Well, dear reader, this was not just any old opera house… this was Teatro alla Scala, Milan. Google it, and the most likely tag line you will find is ‘the most famous opera house in the world’. Hardly surprising then, when I was invited on a girls weekend away to Milan, that I used my ultimate powers of persuasion to get my travelling companions to agree to booking a night at the opera.
We had little choice about the what and the when – there was only one performance during our stay, and that was of Weber’s ‘Der Freischütz’ on our last night, Monday 30th October. It wouldn’t have been my first choice… being German and all that… and it was slightly disappointing that had we been staying one more night, we could have seen ‘Nabucco’… But this was about seizing the opportunity to tick one off the bucket list, so ‘Der Freischütz’ it would have to be! Opera tickets are renownedly expensive. To sit in the stalls would have cost us in excess of £200 each; the first ‘reasonable’ price was around £80 for mid-level seats. I would have paid that, but I understood the reluctance of the other ladies to spend that amount on something they weren’t even sure they’d like! So, we opted for ‘the cheap seats’, way up in the gallery. OK by me; wouldn’t affect the sound, might restrict what we saw, but at the end of the day we were going, and that was what mattered.
After a fabulous couple of days sightseeing in Milan and visiting Lake Como, our last day was upon us. Pre-theatre dinner in the Brera district, and then on to the opera for 8 p.m. The Teatro alla Scala is pretty underwhelming from the outside; inside is a different matter. Built in 1778, the different levels are each divided into separate ‘boxes’ and the whole theatre is a sea of opulent red and gold.
We ascended numerous flights of stairs to reach our seats… which were what one might describe as a ‘close fit’! We could just about see by ducking under or craning over the metal safety rail 🙂 Nevertheless, the view of the theatre and the atmosphere itself were (for me) absolutely stunning. Perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect was how hot it got – by the interval we were all beyond thirsty and downed multiple soft drinks in the bar – closely followed by the sensation of the breasts of the rather large lady behind me pendulating around my ears as she leant forward to get a better view!!!
The orchestra were fabulous, the principals were excellent, and there were a few scenes – particularly the smelting of the magic bullets in the Wolf’s Glen – which were really captivating. Not an opera I’d rush to see again, but we made it relatively unscathed through the 2 hour 40 minutes performance, and (I think) everyone agreed that it was quite an experience.
And actually for me, it was more than that. It was a probably- once-in-a-lifetime, fulfilling-a-musician’s-dream, one-off-the-bucket-list experience, of which I loved every minute.
“I’ve just got back from Milan, darling… Spent a lovely evening at La Scala…”