I’ve been extremely sick for well over a week. I had hoped to get a few good shots of our neighborhood’s Oktoberfest on the 6th and write a post about how awesome it was, but unfortunately I just felt too bad. I managed to throw on a t-shirt and jeans and go…I even managed to eat a crab cake slider and a slice of pizza. But that was about it. We got some Stromboli packaged to go and then went home to feed the rabbit. We didn’t go back out. By early evening the sore throat was coming on, and I spent the next several days in bed or camped out on the couch eating the chili that my husband was kind enough to keep getting for me.
This past Saturday, we had tickets to Don Giovanni at the Kennedy Center. I’ve never been to an opera, though I’ve long suspected I’d love it[i] – I’ve enjoyed opera as a style of music through the bits and pieces I’ve been exposed to, which honestly isn’t much given where I grew up. I do wish I’d started exploring it earlier. With public television, CDs, and DVDs, it’s not like opera is unavailable to the masses! I don’t speak Italian or French and I let that stop me. I was oddly not content to enjoy opera as music if I couldn’t understand what was going on with the story. Fortunately, live productions now feature “supertitles” in English above the stage!
Even still being slightly sick, I was very excited to dress up and attend an actual, live opera. We do a lot of Cool Things in and around D.C., but most of them (sadly) don’t call for fancy dress. And though I don’t always let that stop me, it was actually nice to not be the only person “dressed up” for the occasion.
The skirt is Newport News; I bought it ages ago, and this is the first time I’ve worn it. The lace top is Forever21. The velvet jacket is ChicStar via Good Goth. The shoes are Nine West and are actually my almost-every-day work shoes. The choker is from Art of Adornment.
The performance we saw was a Young Artists performance, so it was a bit less pricey than regular tickets. Even so, I thought it was wonderful. The cast was very diverse and very talented. I’m not an opera critic by any means, but Donna Elvira was my favorite in terms of voice. Though her costumes were a bit odd – they had her in pants and a long coat in almost every scene, and it reminded me a lot of how they dressed Kate Beckensale’s character in Van Helsing. There were a couple of mishaps on stage. Don Giovanni couldn’t get Zerlina’s robe on, and he dropped his sword more than once during a fight scene.
As for the story…my husband indicated that the supertitles weren’t working correctly. Still, it was enough for me to understand what was going on. Don Giovanni is a thoroughly unlikeable character in every way. He’s an arrogant, narcissistic cad who deserves every bad thing that happens to him. There’s no one “hero” character in the story that the audience is supposed to rally around. It just seems as the other characters are victims of Don Giovanni in some form or another. Most of them are intelligent enough to realize it and want either want righteous vengeance or nothing more to do with him. All except Elvira, that is. As much as I loved her singing voice and her look, I simply couldn’t understand why the character would keep going back to Don Giovanni over and over again, begging him to take her back or pleading with the other characters to show him mercy.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening and something I’d love to do again.
[i] I decided quite a while ago that in my next life, I want to be an opera singer. There’s a bit of a story there, but I’ll save it for another time.