The latest news is that this past Sunday I attended a fabulous performance of La Boheme put on by the Cincinnati Opera. Years ago, La Boheme was my first opera, so this was quite a throwback for me, and after several years of going to and enjoying operas, I found that I had a better appreciation for Boheme this time around. Attending college also gives me a whole new appreciation for the quasi-bohemian lifestyle. Anyway, my dear friend – who we shall call Shrubby – and I went early in order to stand outside in the middle of the hot afternoon in full opera garb in order to purchase student tickets at the box office as soon as they came available. We split a sandwich, ate an apricot and tried to keep cool under the overhang of Music Hall.
Once we got our tickets, of course, we bumped into another roadblock, this one coming in the form of a very grumpy, stone-faced door guy. He was getting up there in years, and I think someone chiseled that frown into his face like someone carved the smile on the Joker’s. They let us into the little glass room that’s squashed between the outer and inner doors, but no one was really happy with that situation, and we weren’t the only students or other anxious parties trapped there. Soon cell phones were being pressed to the glass so the guy could see the time, but his watch was set for another time zone I think, and he didn’t believe us. In the end it was another door guy who came over and had to let us in. I told Shrubby that the job of door guy must always go to the grumpiest applicant.
Both Shrubby and I had invited our mothers to come and see the opera with us, so we had arranged to meet them by the gift shop (apparently mothers melt in sunlight, rather like vampires – joke, Mom). This was a bad idea for two reasons: 1, I had money, and 2, they had cute buttons I could stick on my bag and add to my collection. I bought two. One says “Life is short. Opera is long.” The other is the opera version of cover art with Rodolfo and Mimi painted in a pretty little scene. I was also tempted to get a really funny little book called The Bohemian Mainfesto. They were asking twenty for it, but it’s on Amazon for around five including shipping. Go me. When I have money again I’m getting it.
The mummies came, we went up a level and watched all the people in their pretty clothes milling around below, and finally actually watched the opera. At intermission Shrubby took me down to chat with her violin teacher, who happened to playing principle something-or-other in the pit for that opera. She was very friendly, and it seems that Shrubby talks about me when I run away to college. According to the teacher “You’re famous.” Scary. Now I wonder what parts of my insane friendship with Shrubby are common knowledge.
Once the show was over (great singing, great acting, good if somewhat colorless set, unimpressive costumes) I dragged my mom down with me to the green room. Now, the green room is not actually green at all. It is just a nicely furnished little room that the main actors’ dressing rooms branch off of. This particular opera was populated with some very cute guys, so enjoyed getting their autographs in my program. The best moment by far, however, came from a brief discussion with Ailyn Perez, who had played Mimi in the opera. I told her that I’d nearly cried – which was a rare thing for me, as there was only one other opera that had gotten me close to tears before. She agreed enthusiastically about the power of ‘Boheme’, and told me that “An old lady in Italy once told me that if you ever lose touch with your soul, go back to the last two acts of ‘Boheme’.” I would add that if you want to get in touch with your inner college student, all you need to do is watch the first two acts.