"Mama? I really like spending time with Grandpa."
Now I'm awake. "You DO? Aww, that's nice, Smed. Why?"
"Because when Grandma leaves us with Grandpa, she leaves us one cookie. And after she leaves, Grandpa gives us another one."
Chuckle. "Awww, that's sweet. You know, he --"
"And then he gives us ANOTHER one!"
But cookie glut or no, Smedley and Sparky had to babysit Grandpa today, because TODAY was the big day: the day that Grandma and I, along with my uncle who drove up for the occasion, went to the see La Fille du Régiment, a comic opera by Gaetano Donizetti, as presented by the New York Metropolitan Opera. (At our local theater via live satellite simulcasting, not in New York City.)
I wore a little mascara, although I usually don't. This was my choice:
That'd be the waterproof kind. Why? Because I knew I'd be crying like Sally Struthers as soon as the house light went down, that's why.
I was right, of course. As soon as the overture began the waterworks started. Oh well, all y'all know I'm a sap, and now my uncle and a whole crowd of bluehairs know it, too.
I fell in love with the conductor, Marco Armiliato, within seconds. I think I may need to have at least one of his children.
(From his bio here)
Later, I even fell a tiny bit in love with the funny, charming and talented baritone, "Sergeant Sulpice," who is in real life Alessandro Corbelli, and not Julia Child.
(From his bio here)
Of course there was this guy . . .
(Photo stolen from these guys)
. . . maybe you've heard of him? Juan Diego Flórez, my new Secret Boyfriend.* Show stopper, heart stopper, can't-be-upstaged-by-anybody Juan Diego, *sigh*. While he did not do an encore in today's performance as he did on Monday night, his masterful singing tested my waterproof mascara over and over and over. The aria in the second act, in which he's down on one knee, nearly despondent, begging Marie's aunt not to marry Marie off to a wealthy nobleman -- all while singing -- had me so choked up I almost made pig noises trying not to sob. Well, I made one pig noise.
But really, I have developed a Girl Crush on Natalie Dessay. And so did
no matter what they might say. It was impossible not to.
(Photo stolen from her very own web site)
She was fresh, vivacious, and hilarious -- when was the last time you heard someone describe opera as hilarious? not recently -- while simultaneously owning as beautiful and facile a voice as almost anyone, and that's saying something for me, since sopranos tend to annoy the pie out of me. Plus, how many big opera stars would wear a grungy wife-beater?
And this photo is from the scene in which Tonio (as played by My Secret Boyfriend Juan Diego) professes his love for Marie, who is now My Girl Crush. Marie managed to peel potatoes, for real, while she sang. Although in truth I would not have wanted to eat the potatoes she peeled.
The little boy lederhosen is not My Boyfriend's best look, even if he does have cute knees.
(Photo stolen from her again)
I could go on and on about the set design, replete with humorous touches; the marvelous supporting cast; and the music, which never once bored me, as operatic music sometimes can. But I won't say any more, because I figure if you've read this far, you're really just looking for my address so you can come murder me in my sleep. Sorry.
We shuffled out of the theater with the rest of the geriatrics, blinking into the bright April sunlight, sunglasses down to hide the tear tracks. Okay, that was probably just me. We drove home to rescue Grandpa from his two short cookie-loving babysitters. We stopped on the way to buy strawberries from the fruit stand. The end.
p.s. There is an encore performance Sunday, April 27th at most of the same theaters around the world where this played today. If you can, GO SEE IT. If you can't make it and are despondent and considering flinging yourself off of a cliff, DON'T. Instead, watch for news of another encore performance of La Fille du Régiment at the Metropolitan Opera's web site. They may just do it.
*With thanks and apologies to Mrs. G at Derfwad Manor, because the term "Secret Boyfriend" comes from her, I think.