A Night at the Opera – Le Roi Arthus
A dear friend was in town and wanted to offer me an evening out at l’Opera de Paris since I have spent the last two months being a new mom. I certainly was thrilled to get to dress up and go out into the center of Paris. I haven’t left the neighborhood much since the last month of my pregnancy. I was nervous however about leaving Bébé Chéri for so many hours (the opera was over three hours long, plus travel time to and from) but I got over my fears, prepared Chéri what he needed in case he had to feed our little one, and hoped in my favorite form of transportation : Uber Paris and headed to Bastille.
I am more of a ballet performance enthusiast than the opera, but I will not pass on an opportunity to go to the theater with a good friend if I can help it! And I am always curious to see the productions of this grand company, l’Opéra de Paris. Plus an opera about king Arthur… cool!!!!
It was a beautiful blue-sky day, and I felt confident all dressed up in the only dress I own that fits me until I lose this baby weight my bright blue stockings and green Hermès pumps helped in the confidence department. Thank you Alana for getting my out of the house and into Paris civilization!!! It was a delightful evening with you, as always.
The music was beautiful; written by composer Chausson at the end of the 19th century. It took him seven years to write it and it is his only opera. The texts are written in French originally, and they had a beautiful way of flowing and rhyming together, as opera does in it’s way. What is wonderful about the Paris Opera house is that they have discreet screens strategically placed with the texts written as they are sung, with an English translation as well. It was quite helpful for me, since even though I am fluent in French, I am not fluent in Opera. So I would not have been able to decipher the words being sung on my own.
The artists were amazing, in my limited understanding of opera (as I said, I am a ballet enthusiast more than an opera goer). Sophie Koch played Genièvre, Thomas Hampson played King Arthus, and Roberto Alagna played Lancelot, all world renowned opera singers. Alagna is shorter than Thomas, and that kind of threw me in the casting a little because I have always imagined Lancelot as the taller one, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.
I was however quite distracted by the sets and costumes. Here I was in my Uber ride over to the Bastille Opera, imagining they would have these stunning forest sets and gorgeous medieval costumes… but sad ly no, the artistic direction took the liberty to risk making those elements of the opera modern. But King Arthur in a bomber jacket is just too far fetched for me. Plus they all did have swords and in one scene there was a character handling a medieval plowing tool. Why add those elements, if you are going to have your set include a red couch (that is in flames at one point) and a symbolically modifying house structure complete with a coffee table, a picture frame, a flower vase full of yellow blossoms, and bookshelves. Obviously the house and the couch and the flowers, picture frame and books were all supposed to represent something other than what they are, but I wasn’t in the mood to wrap my brain around that kind of experimental scenery. Plus the costumes… ugh. I couldn’t get into them.
By the third act I was able to cease being distracted by all of these strange twists, and just pay attention to the musical story which I did enjoy very much.
We had to rush out of the theater as the artists were taking their second bow, the audience was full of applause, but I couldn’t pay attention to all that enthusiasm (third time I used that word in this post), because I needed to rush home in and Uber (third time too!) to feed Bébé Chéri!!! And you know what, as much as I enjoyed being out in my green suede heels sipping drinks and listening to the Opera, as soon as that little baby was in my arms nursing, I felt a wave of joy and relief. I missed him terribly in the 4+ hours I had been gone. He has his own little opera voice that wails at me daily when he is hungry, and I adore hearing him and know exactly what he is expressing without any sort of translation needed.