THE ONE SOUR note in my recent blissful week in Venice, that magical city like no other in so many ways, not the least of which being the absence of a Starbucks, came, no pun intended, at the Opera. I should have known it would, since I hate opera, detest opera and all other words like that. Still, being one of a foursome who all yearned to go I of course complied, hoping maybe this time it would be different because I was in Italy. Turns out it was, but not in a good way.
As usual, the story line was pure foolishness. Despite the words shown in English subtitles along the top of the stage the plot was completely incomprehensible, revolving around a case of mistaken identity that could only happen if all the people involved were complete morons. Written by Gioachino Rossini who is most famous for The Barber of Seville, this was one of his lesser known works, and with good reason.
Described in the program as a one-act farce, Signor Bruschino, or The Accidental Son, contains “much visual comedy improvised by the players, and often a compulsive linguistic ‘tic.’” In this case, Bruschino senior—the accidental son’s accidental father—repeats the phrase “Oh, it’s so hot!” That was supposed to be funny, but it wasn’t, in part because it really was hot in the theater, and every time he said it I got hotter. (Not hot enough to faint, which would have at least bought me a few minutes.)
The other unfortunate thing was that my seat was broken. There I was, in one of the grandest and most visually stunning theaters I’ve ever seen, and for an hour and 23 minutes I had what felt like a broom handle sticking up my butt. (Turns out it wasn’t a broom handle but a broken spring inside the seat cushion.) It finally ended and the audience exploded in applause, which I found stunning since half of the attendees had slept through much of the proceedings, a fact I couldn’t help noticing as I looked around the theater trying to stay awake. Six curtain calls later I finally got to leave, after which my husband was mad at me for not liking it, implying that I am a gauche peasant unable to enjoy the finer things in life.
I also hate the ballet.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.