Saturday, January 23, 2010


Carmen was wonderful. No surprise there!!

Husband and I deposited Alex with the neighbor and hopped on an afternoon train to NYC. When we got to Penn Station we walked up to Salumeria Rosi, meaning, we walked from 34th and 8th to Amsterdam between 73rd and 74th, just over 2 miles. Good thing I was wearing my hiking shoes because while my heels are comfy, they're not 2 miles comfy. The block before the restaurant I leaned on a wall and changed into the shoes.

The meal was awesome. Go to the link above to see what the place is about. We ordered the Chef's Choice meat plate, which consisted of two slices of all these different types of cured meat. I didn't take a photo of it, but I did get one of a separate plate of something Husband ordered:

This is some type of meat. Some sort of air-dried beef maybe? I can't recall.

Another fab dish we had was the anchovies:

They may look odd, but they were the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth bites of richness. These are not the same fishy, spiny anchovies you're getting on your local pizza. These were marinated in lemon and oil and other spices and my mouth is watering just writing about them.

All of the dishes are small plates like that, which is great because you get to taste all different sorts of things.

Then we walked to Lincoln Center and took a few photos outside before going in:

We tootled around the gift shop before going in. Asked a security guard where to go after the show to get backstage. He said to go down the right side of the orchestra until we get to a guy with a clipboard. Keep that in mind as you read this because that wasn't entirely accurate... what else is new?

Wasted $11 on a glass of BAD champagne.

All those plastic champagne flutes were lined up on the bar. It was so tempting to "bump" into them, but I restrained myself. Instead I asked the bartender if anyone ever has. He was like, "Oh yeah, all the time! That's why they're plastic!"

We went to our seats. (By the way, I was also tempted to press my nose against the glass of the control booth at the top of the section, but Husband convinced me not to. The champagne may have been cheap, but obviously it had gone to my head.) I have to say that I was mixed up about what bathroom is on what level. The Grand Tier doesn't have that private bar and secret bathroom - that's I think two levels up? But that's ok. Our seats were great and that's what counts... Here's the view from the seat.

Up went the famous chandeliers:

And then... the opera itself was great. The orchestra played the overture at breakneck speed. The scenery was so cool. Roberto Alana was great - what a voice! And Elina Garanca - WOW! She steamed up the role. Whew she was HOT!! And of course Elizabeth Caballero was in it - Fabulous!! Her gorgeous rich soprano soared above the mezzos and rang through the building.


Got yelled at by an usher-type in a cloaky sort of cape when I took this photo in the lobby:

Intermission lasted FOREVER. It was long to begin with but also some piece of the set apparently broke and we could hear them hammering like crazy for an extra 15 minutes. Finally the opera began again, to a loooong boring (yet very beautiful) aria of Micaela, the "good" girl, about how she's afraid of Carmen but will be brave... on and on about that... for far too long... the singing was beautiful but it was just too long!!

At this point, perhaps because it was way past my bedtime, my right eye started watering. Of course it took the mascara with it. Husband insisted that you couldn't tell, but you be the judge when you look at the photos.

The final scene was amazing. Carmen wanted to see Escamillo, her new lover, fight in this very exciting bullfight, but Don Jose showed up all distraught, accusing her of ruining his life and demanding that she go away with him. She tosses him away, saying she no longer loves him. Every time the crowd in the stadium cheered she got more impatient and he got more angry, and finally, in a true, "If I can't have you, nobody can," manner, he stabbed her to death. Then the very final moment, as she died, the stage turned around so you could see the inside of the stadium, and there is Escamillo standing over this bull he just killed. Wow. What a visceral, shocking ending. I mean, I knew that Don Jose killed her, but the way they showed it like that, so that it was obvious that Escamillo killed the bull at the same time, was really effective.

When the opera was over, we made our way down to the right side of the orchestra... where an usher found us and asked if she could assist us... because of course, we were in the wrong place! We had to go back out to the lobby area and down this little flight of stairs opposite the doors to the orchestra, then down a hallway that had a couch at one end, to where some dude stood with a clipboard. I gave him our names, he let us in. He said to go down the hall where we'd have to wait until Wardrobe had finished taking all the costumes from the performers, then they'd let visitors in. So went down another hall past boxes marked "Wardrobe - chorus" and things like that, to a raised security desk. All sorts of people were milling about. I gave our names to the woman at that desk. She directed me to another guy with a clipboard who was standing at yet another door. He confirmed we were on the list but there were so many people coming out that we couldn't get in. Finally we got in and went down a loooong hallway lined with lockers, turned right and there was this open space with lots of doors around it - stairs down, stairs to the stage, green room for soloist singers and the individual dressing rooms. Not too star-struck walking past Roberto Alagna's and Elina G's dressing rooms... hoping they'd come out but not really looking... there were lots of people just standing around. We found Liz's dressing room and gave a little knock. She had another set of visitors too. They were very nice - they brought her flowers and took our photos. I had chosen this lovely pair of earrings for her - multi-faceted crystal beads with a small purple rhinestone rondelle. That means nothing to anyone but me so click here to see a photo. But look no further to see pictures of us all posing together. Yes, this is a dressing room at the Met. Looks just like... a room... with a piano, and a chair, and a desk, and a mirror.

Looking at this photo I'm just realizing now that Liz is holding the flowers backwards! Oops. But you can see the little organza bag for the earrings.

Grabbed Husband for another photo, and then it was well beyond our bedtime and nearing the time of the 12:40am train so off we went!

Future scoop for all you South Floridians out there - keep an eye out for FGO's fall season production of Turandot - Liz will be singing the role of Liu, which means she'll get a fabulous suicide scene.

This production of Carmen will be on PBS in their Great Performances series. I'll post details when I get them.


Maria said...

I saw this last weekend in HD at the theater. Unbelievable. Elina GaranĨa was perfection as Carmen. Roberto Alagna was good as well, of course, but not as much Don Jose as Elina was Carmen.

I could not agree more about that exceptionally boring song from Micaela. OMG. My mother, God bless her, actually fell asleep in the middle of it. I touched her arm to wake her when it was done. At the HD screening we got to "meet" Barbara Frittoli, the performer, and she was boring in the interview as well. She was defending Micaela, saying that she was not meek but very strong, going to the soldier's den in the beginning, then going into the mountains to find Don Jose. I was like meh.

I was thrilled to see the incomparable Teddy Tahu Rhoades - he was called three hours before the performance to play Escamillo due to Mariusz Kwiecien being ill. I have heard so much about him I was happy to get to hear him finally. I'm sure Mariusz was great, but he gets around more than Teddy and I have a better shot at seeing him at some point in the future.

Loved it (other than Micaela). Great set, great production.

Avocational Singer said...

You have described here what I would consider a perfect date night. My husband and I were going to start attending the opera. So far we've seen two. The first try, to see Debbie Voight in the Egyptian Helena, was a disaster. He was very sick but was trying to get there because he knew I had so been looking forward to it. He valiantly insisted that we head to the Met, but when I saw him throwing up in a paper bag in the car, I couldn't make him do it. We had to head home.

He got more tickets for another weekend, but the seats were with an obstructed view in a box with a few other people and he fell asleep. So I kind of felt like I was watching by myself.

The next one, Il Trovatore, we had a really nice evening. But that was almost a year ago and I would like to get out again.

I experienced your wonderful evening vicariously, and the only thing I need to do to make my vicarious experience complete is keep checking your blog to find out when the Great Performance on PBS is.

Thanks for sharing all about your evening.

Susan said...

Maria - Mariusz K was fabulous and quite HOT in that tiny toreador outfit. The only reason I didn't mention him was because I was too lazy to look up the correct spelling of his name when I wrote the blog entry. And that's why I'm a blogger but not a professional reporter. ;) I saw him in Lucia too - so you're right, he does get around.

Avocational Singer - I'm sorry your opera dates ended in disaster!! I've had a couple opera outings (with a group of coworkers, not with Husband) that ended up with many of us getting carsick in the limo on the way home. Including me! Yuck! I am not a limo person unless I can sit up front with the driver!!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading about our Carmen adventure. Husband will not be my date again for an opera adventure for a long time - not because he didn't enjoy it - but because the anticipation of the change in routine threw Alex for a loop, and his mild autism escalated for about 5 days into, not so mild... He was fine during the event... however, before and even the day after... let's just say, it has been a Very Exhausting Week.

Banawoman said...

Great description! I feel like I was there with you! Maybe next time I will be. Heh heh.