February 19th, 2004

flavored with age

Un bel di

I wish I had a more complex analysis of Madama Butterfly, but I just don't have the critical language for it. I'll just say that I really liked it a lot, and thanks much to Lara and Jeff for taking me. The lead was really good, the people playing Sharpless and Suzuki were excellent, the set was inventive, and the orchestra was very fine. The whole thing really drove home the emotional power of opera that's so appealing to me on a basic level. I had a great time.

Lara said something I thought was really perceptive: that it was good that my first time at the opera, I got to see a performance at the Chicago Lyric, which is one of the most beautiful opera houses and one of the most reputable and skillful companies in the country. And that got me to thinking that one of the advantages to living in Chicago is that your cultural opportunities are many, but they're also of a pretty high quality -- we have a great symphony, a great theatre scene, a lot of good concert venues (and we're a stop on everyone's touring schedule), one of the best libraries in the country, excellent museums, etc. I went to plays, symphonies and art museums in Phoenix, of course, and even in L.A., but they generally weren't that great. This means that not only do you have a lot of chances to do stuff like this, but it's almost guaranteed that when you do, it'll be pretty good. I like that. I'm probably not going to want to give that up for a good long time.