Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Night At the Opera

by Maggie Sefton

Stage set for start of  "Madama Butterfly" at Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center in Vienna, VA

Last Friday I drove from my restful spot in the woods and a block from the Potomac River back to my old hometown of Arlington, Virginia, which is a mere stone's throw across the Potomac from Washington, DC.  I drove to my youngest daughter Maria's lovely condo apartment to stay the weekend before flying back to Colorado.

Maria and I had tickets for a performance of Puccini's opera, "Madama Butterfly" for Friday evening.  The performance was at the beautiful Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, which is located in a gorgeous wooded section on National Park land near Vienna, Virginia.  "Madama Butterfly" is set in Japan in the mid-1800s.  And this production held true to the opera's Japanese setting and historical dress.

The singers were exceptional, of course.   And Puccini's music is glorious and is  familiar to everyone, even if they are not opera fans.  I grew up listening to opera on the radio on Saturdays because mymother loved opera.  And, believe me, you can't beat Grand Opera for drama, trauma, and melodrama.  Opera plots kill more people than we mystery authors manage to.  Lovers are separated, are reunited, only to be separated again, not to mention being poisoned, strangled, stabbed and stuffed in sacks.  All  accompanied by absolutely glorious music and singing.  Dramatic soprano heroines are feisty and fiery like Tosca  or sweet and delicate like the little seamstress Mimi  in "La Boheme" or saucy and taunting like Carmen.  Believe me, Grand Opera has something for everyone.  And the stories never get boring.  Too much is happening.  Even the idealistic and brave Chou Chou San in "Madama Burtterfly" keeps you watching her every move-----right to the end.