I inadvertently mentioned at home that my boss had given me two tickets to the opera followed by a booked table at a great restaurant.
Next thing … we were sitting in one of those private balcony seats watching a lot of people on stage shouting at each other in song and walking about as if they’re constipated.
I smiled and feigned enjoyment.
I read the brochure, mostly to find out how many intervals there were and whether this place has a bar or not. Then, since there was nothing much else to read, I glanced at a summary of the plot of this play or musical or whatever it is we were watching.
What is it with opera? Why can’t it be simple and easy to understand?
Apparently, this fellow called Orlando loves the pretty young lady called Miranda. But one day whilst riding his horse he bumps his head against a low lying branch from a tree and falls from the horse and gets amnesia.
Now Amnesia has an identical twin sister called Memoria who, having found Orlando in a daze takes him to her home and looks after him. In time both Memoria and Amnesia fall for Orlando’s good looks and he falls in love with one of them but does not know which one, so alike they are.
Miranda finds him in the arms of Memoria, or was it Amnesia, (I can’t remember), and gets very jealous.
Miranda in turn falls in love with a plumber called Risotto.
One day Risotto realizes that Orlando is finally regaining his memory and is falling in love with Miranda all over again; much to the dismay of Memoria, or was it Amnesia? (I can’t remember!). Perhaps it was both … so alike they are.
As you would expect in all good operas; an argument ensues between the five of them; with a choir of about thirty people in the background screaming their song as if their lives depended on it. I’m not sure who the choir represents, but it all added up to the noise.
“Do you love me?” screams Miranda.
“Do you love me?” repeats Memoria … or was it Amnesia … I don’t care.
“Do you love me?” asks the other twin sister, whatever her name may be?
“Do you love me?” asks Risotto of the three women hoping that someone at least would care for him.
And that’s when we were relieved with the first intermission and a large glass of whisky in the bar. Sadly, fifteen minutes later a bell rang and everyone rushed to their seats. I can’t understand why.
I asked the barman if the bar stayed open. He said no; but offered to refill my glass so I could stay there alone for a bit longer.
Half an hour later I rejoined my seat and was told I had just arrived for the denouement. I looked in my dictionary for the meaning of that word.
Apparently, Risotto the plumber had challenged Orlando to a duel with metal pipes he uses in his plumbing business.
They fought for five minutes whilst singing at the same time. Eventually Orlando was hit hard on the knee and fell to the ground holding his chest.
“Son morto … son morto …” he sang loudly, which means I am dead.
Instead of calling for an ambulance and taking him to the ER room at the hospital; Risotto and Miranda joined in the singing, accompanied by the twin sisters and the ever-present choir. The more they sang the more Orlando responded even louder.
It took him ages to die holding on to his chest although I clearly saw that he was hit in the knee.
Eventually, he got up from the ground and the whole cast took several bows to the rapturous applause from the audience.
I really enjoyed that evening. Best whisky I had for ages.