Growing up in North Carolina, we didn't get many opportunities to see opera. Or maybe, we just didn't take advantage of any opportunities to see opera, our preferences skewing toward piano and symphony performances. But never opera.
I mean, I've seen seen Real!Aida (versus the Elton John version) in a gorgeous, ancient outdoor amphitheatre in Verona. But that was pretty much it.
So that's why, when I first moved up here and scored free tickets to the opera at the Metropolitan Opera, no less, I was completely floored to learn that the backs of the seats had the opera's subtitles and translations! In digital display!
Seriously, ya'll. I can count on a couple of hands the number of times where this city's actually made me feel like a country bumpkin, and I'll tell you what for, that performance was one of those times. I don't even remember the name of the opera anymore. I don't even remember the story. I just remember watching the words go by with each passing stanza.
I must have missed the first half of the show, because I was just sitting in my seat, shaking my head, thinking, holy crap, ya'll opera-going folk, weren't as smart as I thought ya'll were.
I couldn't wait to get out of the show, to call my mom and tell her all about it. My roommate, an opera singer, laughed her bum off at me when I got home. I just couldn't believe how I was all opera's for smart people, cuz they know all the words to the stories and pieces, and in other languages, too! And the whole time, it was spelled out on digital displays.
Even so, I will say that not all opera is for me. I've only seen a couple of performances since then, plus, I did a fantastic behind the scenes tour - where we got to see Placido Domingo rehearse on stage, from the sound booth. Outstanding.
And I'll tell ya, I didn't need a translation to know what he was singing, either. Didn't understand a word of it, but really, I don't think anyone cares when it's Placido!