Both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company offer heavily discounted tickets to people under 30. Cari and I have been to the TSO a few times, but recently decided to give opera a chance.
Obviously, we have both heard opera before – but neither of us were really sure how we’d fare during a 3 hour performance. Thankfully, we picked Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak, which takes the familiar tale of The Little Mermaid (initially a Czech fairy tale whcih was later adapted by a number of authors including Hans Christian Andersen) and adds some operatic twists.
I never thought our first opera would be in Czech. And frankly we went into the performance not sure whether we would like it or not. But the performances won us over. The melodies were beautiful, the story easy to follow, and the sets were simple but effective (they actually managed to put a pool of water on the stage for the water gnomes and nymphs to play around in). They also cleverly adapted two characters from the original opera – initially servants at the Prince’s palace – into theatre patrons eager to criticize the storyline. We weren’t expecting that kind of comedy in the midst of a dramatic piece.
Our seats, however, were another story altogether. We were seated in the fifth balcony, about as close to the right edge of the stage as you could get. And our seats weren’t all that different from the ones you find at fast food restaurants, bolted into the ground that swivel. As a result, you couldn’t see the action on the right of the stage – and looking directly down gave us both a little bit of vertigo. Yikes!
Opera For A New Age tickets are just $20; a bargain when you consider the astronomical price of normal tickets (as much as $300 for some performances!). But I think if we were to do this again (and we definitely hope to), we’d either invest in better seats, or make sure that the $20 tickets we end up with are at least a little bit better situated than these seats were.
If you’re up for something different to do with yourself in an evening, we’d definitely encourage you check out the opera. Limited tickets are available for the remaining performances of Rusalka, and if you’re thinking of checking out something else, let us know and we might join in. Rusalka and Beethoven’s Fidelio are playing throughout the rest of February, before the Company takes a break until April, when it premieres Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Puccini’s La Boheme.
Check out www.coc.ca for more information