Today I saw an opera for the first time, Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), put on by the University of Washington. It was in Italian, but there were subtitles (had never seen subtitles for a live performance before -- they were on a thin, wide screen mounted above the stage). I wasn't sure I would like the show; I was afraid it would be long and sort of boring. But actually, even though it was long (3 hours), I wasn't bored. The set was sort of artistically minimalist, and the costumes provided a contrast to this since they were richly done in an 18th century poofy-shirt-and-tailcoat style. The singing was stereotypically warbly, but something about the way the voice and music combined was very pleasant and a little hypnotic. The story was a comedy, and as such I enjoyed the little twists where, say, one character duped another one and then got fooled himself. Although, it's interesting -- when I was reading the plot synopsis before the show started, I thought, "This sounds complicated and dull." But watching it take place seemed to transcend the content of the plot. The experience itself was sensuous and absorbing in a way I wouldn't have predicted.
(It was also interesting to compare this with Chicago, which I saw at the Paramount on Wednesday night with achaosofkittens. In the latter show, I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters, and I'm not sure the viewer was supposed to. So instead of evoking an airy and stylized world where things were improbable but cute, it evoked a dark, distasteful world where, well, at least there was some nice dancing. Although, OK, there was one character I could sympathize with in Chicago, and he sang what was probably my favorite song from that show, Mr. Cellophane. [I don't know if I liked that song because of the character who sang it, or just because it's a good song, but I suspect a bit of both.])
I attended the opera with Eric, who had seen several operas before, although not this particular one. Before the show (a 3pm matinee), he and I got lunch and then walked around a little among the booths of the fair taking place in the U district this weekend.