We went to the Lyric Opera last Tuesday night. It was CJ’s first time ever at the opera. I know I have been before, but I can’t remember how long it’s been or what I saw so it must have been quite a while ago. I had intended to write a fun post about our night out but a few things took precedent that made my silly little post seem less significant. I return to that moment in time now and share a few thoughts on the wonderful experience along with my version of the WXRT Regular Guy style Review of Handel’s Rinaldo. We started our night with a quick pre-theater meal at one of our favorite haunts Hub 51. Go figure a guy in a black suit and red bow tie and a girl in a short black dress draw some attention. I’m thinking that it was mostly the redhead in the black dress but I can pretend otherwise!
Since we had three hours of arias in our future we decided to grab a couple of double macchiatos before catching a cab to the Lyric Opera House. There is something so exciting about getting all dressed up and going to an event. Arriving in front of the Civic Opera Building on a 60 degree eve of Spring night was magical in everyway. Ladies in dresses and men in suits were hawking single tickets under the concourse in front of the main gate, a far cry from the grungy flannel shirt cladden scalpers on Addison outside Wrigley Field. We wandered around inside the Opera House for about ten minutes before heading up to our seats in the Dress Circle, otherwise know as the balcony. We actually had seats 1 and seats 7 in row 4 which meant we had an aisle and the fourth seat in. I figured it would be easy to ask the people in between us to move to the aisle so we could sit together a few seats in. I figured wrong.
When we got past the incredibly awkward usher for our section who nearly told us his entire life history as it realtes to the opera, we arrived to find all three first seats in our row already taken. When I told the man in the aisle seat that we had the aisle seat and seat seven he replied, “Nobody ever sits in this seat. It’s always empty.” Well guess what pal, it ain’t empty tonight! Since I was not looking to turn CJ’s first ever opera into a hockey fight, I opted for a few minutes of negotiating and we arranged to take seats 7 and 9 while the three who sat in our seats stayed together. That is until the second act when they split up with two of them moving to the row behind us and the third sitting in the middle seat of the three in our row. What can I say? A little opera brings out all the freaks, present company included.
We only knew a little bit of the story line for Rinaldo but we had no fear. My friend Richard described it to us as a typical Handel opera, in other words 25 arias in search of a plot. We decided to read the plot summary of each act aloud to each other right before the act started which added to our fun made the digital translation scroll at the top of the stage easier to follow. Who would have known that a night at the opera could be so much work? Apparently Freddie Mercury and Queen were not appearing on this night so nothing would be sung in English with British accents.
In the end we had a glorious time. We laughed and we smiled and we were moved through a series of emotions that only the opera seems to be able to do. To quote Julia Robert’s line in Pretty Woman, “We liked it so much we almost peeed our pants!”
As each act ended that night we went out to the lobby to strectch our legs and I took the liberty of posting a Facebook post with a quick summary. I thought I’d share them with you now in case you missed them. CJ got a good chuckle out of my absurdity. She always does and she gets plenty of opportunities! So here’s my Regular Guy review of Handel’s Rinaldo inculding a well placed Harry Potter reference:
Rinaldo act 1 plot summary. Guy wants to get girl but has to win fight first. Other guy wants to get other girl/goddess but has to win fight first. Guy number 2 gets goddess to kidnap girl number 1. Lots of high pitched singing. Balloons. End of act 1.
Rinaldo act 2 plot summary. Guy #1 (Rinaldo) goes after kidnapped girl #1. Jumps in coffin to hell. Guy #2 decides like girl #1 better. Girl #1 sings famous aria while tied up inside giant piano. Lots of applause. Goddess decides likes guy #1 better. Tries to trick him into loving her. Guy #2 tries to free girl #1. Gets caught by goddess. Goddess throws coat and takes nap on stage. Giant piano turns out to be harpsichord. Goddess plays harpsichord and gets drunk. Breaks bottle on stage. Declares war on guy #1 (or other harpsichord player in orchestra…not sure). End of act 2.
Rinaldo act 3 plot summary. Lots of lounging and crawling on stage. Girl #1’s father and brother get wands from sage in hut. Likely couldn’t find Olivander’s. More crawling on stage. Big fight between good and evil. Good wins. Guy #1 gets girl #1. More high pitched singing. Everybody including guy #2 and Goddess happy with good’s triumph over evil. Goddess breaks another bottle on stage. The end! Bowing and the like…