I just surfed over to the Honolulu Symphony website and found out that Renee Fleming is coming in March. Oooh, I’m so excited! Mike was, predictably, less enthusiastic when I explained that she was a famous soprano. He’s not exactly an opera fan, though he has agreed to attend one with me this season. I wasn’t always a fan, either. In fact, I’ve only ever been to one opera. I was, regrettably, not enamored at the time. I was 20 years old and I attended a performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades (based on the Alexander Pushkin story).
Though it did capture my attention at one particular point, I was more put out than anything. Here I was sitting in this gorgeous theater in Moscow and listening to people sing in Russian and I was totally clueless to the enormity of that, especially since Moscow was still the capital of the Soviet Union at the time. I’d wanted to see ballet, specifically the Bolshoi, but opera was all that was on the menu then. These were the days when the State told you what you would do and you did it. Our poor tour guide. The entire company of Americans wanted ballet, but instead we were forced to endure an operatic performance.
Man, if I could rewind to that night, I’d be enrapt. There was a point in the performance, like I said, where everyone was suddenly enthralled. A collective gasp went up in the theater when it happened. And it was so skillfully done, the disappearance of one person and appearance of another, that you totally believed it had happened.
Wonder what Renee will sing?