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At the Teatro Malibran. Venice, Italy

Last week my friend offered me a ticket to Die Walkure at the Met. While I'm not a fan of the new production, I am a fan of the music and I took the offer. She had never before been to the opera, and she had invited me to be her guide. I told her that I wouldn't necessarily start with a Wagner opera, but the tickets had presented themselves to her and her husband had enjoyed the first two operas of the Ring cycle; she thought she would give it a try. At the very least, I told her, Die Walkure had at least one recognizeable hit tune.

In Venice, I had hoped to catch an opera at the Teatro la Fenice, but none were scheduled on the dates I was there. Instead, I had to content myself with The Barber of Seville at the nearby Teatro Malibran. While opera buffa isn't generally my opera genre of choice, the production was fun and engaging even if I couldn't make out all the intricacies of the plot (the opera was sung in Italian with Italian super titles; during the interval I raced outside to find free wifi so that I could download a synopsis).

Before the opera began, the theater rose as the orchestra played the national anthem; the audience sang to great effect. I remembered the first time I had encountered this.

It was my first solo trip oversesas. I had travelled to Taiwan to participate in the Overseas Compatriot Youth Formosa Study Tour (commonly referred to as "Love Boat") and my cousin had offered to take me to a movie during one of our weekends off. She asked me what I wanted to see and I told her a Chinese movie. She looked disappointed; she had hoped to catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

She looked through the paper and we ended up seeing He's a Woman, She's a Man, a romantic comedy starring Leslie Cheung. As the lights went down she bade me stand. I was confused but followed suit as the rest of the audience rose for the national anthem. We then took our seats and the film began.

Comments (6)   |   Posted 14 May 2012   |   Photography + design © Eugene Kuo // 226.