Thursday, 7 May 2009

Christmas Opera


















I had always wanted to see an opera and last year for my birthday Nadalene took me to see my first one. La Traviata.

Angelique and Nadalene bought me tickets for the opera for a Christmas gift and the opera was to take place on April 25, 2009 (it was a week ago Saturday). The opera we saw was Madam Butterfly.

Angelique and Nadalene looked stunning. Angelique wore a black skirt and a teal and black top. Nadalene wore a green/blue sweater dress with a black shawl. I wore a black pant outfit. And really we all looked beautiful.

The evening started with dinner and drinks at Resto Gare which is a train dining car that looks like the Orient Express. The room was lovely. Angelique had some kind of seafood crepe. I had a very fancy meatloaf with wild mushrooms and sauce. Nadalene had a spinach and cheese quiche. Everything was scrumptious.

At this point I made a mistake. I had a rum and coke after just taking some strong pain killers. I thought the rum would help.

Dinner was so delightful and the conversation was even better than the food (which was delicious). We were running late.

Our seats were wonderful. We were in the 16th row on the main floor.

Madam Butterfly is about an arranged marriage of a 15 year old (Butterfly) to an American naval officer. Butterfly considers this a real marriage and so renounces her ancestral religion and takes on her husband’s faith. By doing this Butterfly’s family disowns her. Butterfly’s husband returns to the United States and stays away for three years. During that time, Butterfly has his son and while he is away he marries an American woman. He returns and Butterfly learning the truth kills herself; and the husband and his American wife take the child.

It was a sad opera (I guess they all are) and I hated the arrogance of the American naval officer who right from the start thought this was just a young girl that he could dispose of when he wanted to (in the beginning of the opera he mentions that ‘she will do’ until he gets a real American wife. Prick.).

The set stays the same throughout the opera and there were some really beautiful scenes when the family comes for the wedding and when Butterfly hears that her husband has come back and the cherry blossoms float all over the stage.

Before Butterfly learns the truth she waits for her husband all night. As she was standing on the stage waiting, my eyes were totally drooping. My head even snapped back once (combo of rum and pills). Angelique whispers over to me ‘Is she going to stand there all night?’ About five minutes later when she is still standing, even though it was sad, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then the tragedy of Butterfly killing herself and seeing her little son stand by her side was terribly sad.

Favourite quotes from the opera were:

The day of the wedding “Night of rapture, stars unnumbered.”

Butterfly is going to kill herself with the same sword that her father had killed himself “To die with honour when one can no longer live with honour.”

At the end of the evening when we waltzed ourselves back to our car we carried on to get some cakes and cheesecakes and have them with tea.

Thanks for the Christmas opera Angelique and Nadalene.

67 comments:

Sonia ;) said...

Renee,

Thank you for the scenario of the opera. Always wondered what it was about, and always got the artsy fartsy "Its deep moving blah blah.."...You gave it to me in real words Thank you. I am so glad you got to experience it. I have never been and would love to go one day. Now I want to see it...Hope you have a awesome week hun.......HaHa you KJs latest Emily post Ha ha Ha...smooches sweetie...

Smiles,
Sonia ;)

Diana Evans said...

oh how wonderful!!! I have never been to one yet...but the story you told is great and clear....I am so happy you finally went to your first opera!!!!

Here's to many more...

Hugs
Diana

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening!! You have such a way with words Renee! You tell a story so wonderfully!!
Darla

Yoli said...

I love opera, this one I used to love when I was more naive (ignorant) of the world. Now, especially now, as a Mom of Asian children it is highly difficult to even entertain the thought of seeing it again. You summed up the problem with it well.

What I am loving here dear girl is that you have spent a magical night. That you have laughed, drank rum and coke and nodded your head (you cracked me up laughing)with sleep. That you have shared beautiful memories with friends. The painting you posted is expectacular. Sending you huge hugs sweet Renee!!!

lakeviewer said...

So, was it sung in English? Or subtitled? You are a lucky mom with those children of yours treating you so royally.

Audrey said...

OH Renee, I laughed when I read about the rum and coke/pill combo! Too funny.
What a lovely evening with your girls! The night you described is truly my idea of "bliss." I am a HUGE fan of the opera (Madame Butterfly is actually one of my favorites), dining out, and talk/laughter with loved ones. Life truly does not get any better than that!
Thank you to Nadalene and Angelique for being such loving, wonderful human beings!
Love audrey
xoxoxo

pRiyA said...

What a wonderful, wonderful evening to remember. i had wondered what the story of madame butterfly was. now i know.

Tessa said...

I was eleven years old when I first saw 'Madame Butterfly' and I'm ashamed to say I giggled fit to bust! My sister and I referred to it as 'Madam Blubberfly' for ages afterwards. Of course, when I saw it again as an adult, I behaved impeccably!! Mostly.

Angela Recada said...

I've always loved the pieces I've heard of Madam Butterfly, but never really knew the whole story. You explained it beautifully.

As I get older, I enjoy opera more and more, too. I'm so glad you were able to share this special evening with your beautiful daughters!
xoxoxo
Love,
Angela

Daria said...

I've never been to an opera .... how nice you were given the opportunity to see one.

Hope you're doing O.K.

Ces said...

Oh I love Madama Butterfly. I still cry every time I hear the aria. I stop what I do and close my eyes. I love Puccini! My favorites of his are Madama Butterfly and Gianni Schicchi. Oh! Now I'm going to melt all day...

Lisa said...

i have never seen madame butterfly and had no idea as to its story line- it sounds wonderful.......almost as wonderful as rum, coke, and pain medication xx

Marion said...

Prick, indeed! I love you, Renee, because you're so like me. Tee-Hee. I had to laugh out loud when you berated that beastly naval officer. I, too, saw Madam Butterfly, but it was waaay back in high school and I didn't fully appreciate the tragedy of it all then.

I loved the way you described the outfits y'all were wearing and the scrumptious food. I felt like I was there, a little angel looking over your shoulder. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. I did, too! Hugs!

karengberger said...

This is a lovely review...I wish more operas were reviewed this way, by opera-goers, and not opera scholars.
I haven't seen this one, but love what I've heard of the music.
This is a wonderful gift from your daughters, and to share it with them, with good food & conversation, makes it a really memorable, lasting gift. I enjoyed reading about it.

Deborah said...

Such a lovely date with your daughters. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, reading your desription...you just may have enticed me to see an opera! See how BIG you make my little world.
**blows kisses** Deborah

Julie said...

What a wonderful evening, a night at the opera flanked by your beautiful daughters! Plus, rum & coke + pills = awesome.

studio lolo said...

Renee, my coffee just came through my nose when you laughed at the most tender moment!! You slay me!

How wonderful the three of you had such a magical night. I could picture how all you all looked, and you're right, you did look beautiful ;)

Have a glorious Thursday Sister raven!
xoxoxo
Lolo

Shelly said...

Sigh ... beautiful, I enjoyed the opera through your blog and understanding of the story ... I especially enjoyed the description "prick" and chuckled along with you when Butterfly was just standing there. I fell asleep at the ballet once while being treated by my mother-in-law. Oh and I have no doubt the three of you were beautiful ... Sigh

Once Upon A Blue Crow said...

I've never been to the opera either. Never even knew what the story of Madame Butterfly was, but may be enticed in the future by your story. The first memory that came to mind when I read this was about my friend Amy(whom I haven't seen in forever!)But she's the kind of friend that makes you laugh..even at times when you shouldn't be. I wouldn't dare go with her to a funeral :) When we were younger and would go to a horror movie and the inevitable blood and gore scenes would come and everyone would be hiding their eyes, or there was a real serious scene, she would burst out laughing, really LOUD. I mean what are you gonna do right?...Sorry, I'm babbling and laughing at the same time!
I can just picture a night at the opera :)

Sarah said...

Oh hon, how wonderful. I love the story but have never seen it done. Beautifully told! Sounds like you all had such fun!!! What a hoot - rum and coke and pills - whoo hoo. My mom and I used to go out to plays in LA - always had a wonderful time!!! Love, Sarah

Simone de Klerk said...

Such a lovely picture to such a sad opera. Glad you had such a good time!

Pattee said...

Wow What a wonderful night you had!
I've never seen Madam Butterfly but I think I'll put it on my list of things to see... as you described it so well.
Plus you made me hungry~~~~~: )
Pattee

soulbrush said...

oh i loved this opera when i saw it many years ago, what a special evening making new memories, and yum yum cheesecake!

Tammy said...

Hi Renee,
Thank You for sharing the opera with us..
Sounds wonderful, I have never been myself, maybe someday...
What a wonderful gift, and I am so glad you all enjoyed yourselves...
Hugs..
Tammy

Sue said...

What an incredible night it sounds like you had (aside from the rum and coke lapse). I've never been to an opera, although am lucky to receive tickets to theatre shows, such as Mama Mia, for my birthday. Love them! There is so much energy.

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time at the opera.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

I never really knew what Madame Butterfly was all about...so interesting and yes...sad! Glad you got to enjoy such a nice evening!

Thanks for your very kind comments about my mom, Renee. I will see that she gets a copy of my post, after the holiday...so she won't see her present in advance!

Love ya & Stay Cozy, Carrie

Michelle said...

Sounds pretty cool! I have never been to the opera myself...one day I may go....I used to think it was just so much caterwauling :)

Anonymous said...

Pudding

This picture is amzaing. We have shared a lifetime of first's together.

Nadia

Lola said...

I love opera but I hate Madame Butterfly. It should have been called Madam Bitterfly. I adore the music and the "un bel dì vedremo" aria always makes me cry, but then I get so angry at Pinkerton (naval officer) for being such a prick.

When I was a child, my mom would bring me to the opera often. That's how I learned to appreciate opera and its otherwise hilarious situations: fat sopranos playing bohemian TBC victims, sustained acute solos that sounded like train whistles, the sometimes utterly unintelligible lyrics, hour-long performances, etc.

When you're eleven years old and the second act of mellower operas like Verdi's Othello, or Puccini's Tosca are well past your bed time, it meant lots of snorting head snaps and jolting awakenings.

I will try the pain killer/Cuba libre cocktail combo for insomnia next time.

I love you, Renee. And your elegant evenings out with your fortunate daughters.
Ciao bella

Baino said...

I'm ashamed to say I've never been to an opera either! Unless you count Gilbert and Sullivan - been to a few of those. I bought my mother tickets to Carman years ago. It was held in a stadium complete with horsemen and flamenco dancers. .I swore that if they ever did anything that spectacular I'd definitely go. I've seen Butterfly on telly . .beautiful arias but have to say I'm not a fan of the genre, more the spectacle.

Woman in a Window said...

I want to go. I want to see it. How awesome would that be. It has been so long since I've seen anything like this...really a great artistic performance. ah. You tell it well.

sweetmango said...

oh i LOVE opera, ever since I was a child I loved opera. Even if I couldnt understand the language I still understood the story, opera has always spoken to me.
what a perfectly wonderful night for you all!
I love you
xm

Strawberry Girl said...

Sigh, sigh such a sad scenario (the play), but cheer hurray for the fun night out!! :D

javajune said...

I had to pop over and meet you. I just received the Renee award from Deborah at midlife poet. I am so honored. I have never been to an opera. It sounds like you had a wonderful evening dispite the tragic story of Madame Butterfly.
I am so glad to meet you.
Take care,
-jj

Michelle said...

I left you a pressie on mine :)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Renee,

What a lovely night out at the opera, with your Girls.
That is such a special gift and glad that you all got to enjoy your evening out.

Hugs
Carolyn

nollyposh said...

i ~love~ the song she sings just before she dies (Always makes me cry)

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Now don't feel too badly about the mini nap, I've been known to take a little siesta during a play or an opera.
One I did not fall asleep in was a kabuki performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It was spectacular (actually 2 pieces). One was contemporary & the other traditional with men playing the male & female roles. We wore head sets to hear the explanation. It was fabulous. Another time I saw "Into the Woods" at the Kennedy Center and I think those are the only performances in which I have stayed totally awake!

oneartistjournal said...

I always thoughts operas and (musicals too) have the tendency to feel fake because in reality who's life is lived through song. In Opera it's even exagareted and extreme...But for some reason they suck you in so forcefully...and make you so emotional..Thanks for this lovely entry sweet Renee.

Bella Sinclair said...

What a beautiful night! Three gorgeous women enjoying good food and incredible music. Divine.

I've only been the opera once - La Boheme -- and was completely stunned by the extravagant sets and costumes and powerful voices. I swear, I never saw so many women in gowns and fur coats in the audience before in my life. I've listened to Madame Butterfly, but have never seen it. Captivating painting you've chosen for it.

Renee, I hope you are doing ok tonight. I sense something is off, perhaps that is just me. Sending warm thoughts and prayers your way.

Snowbrush said...

“To die with honour when one can no longer live with honour.”

Renee, it scares me a little to hear someone as sick as you are talk like this. I assume I am over-reacting. Tell me I am.

angelique said...

Perfect picture. It was a wonderful night, but not my favourite story. Her poor little boy. I wish I knew what song everyone is talking about (the one that makes them cry)...they all started to sound the same to me.

yoborobo said...

I've never been to an opera, but it is on my 'list'. And now I know not to drink rum & coke before I go. :) Although, when you think about it, a little nap with lovely music playing in the background, is kind of a nice thing, I think! Thanks so much for sharing this - I feel like I got to go, too. :)

YayaOrchid said...

Oh, it sounds like you had great Mother Daughter time with your girls. How delightful! I'm sorry about the painkillers, though. I truly wish there was no need for them. I do hope you're doing well, Renee.

Thank you also for letting us know what that opera is about. I'd always wondered. It sounds like a very sad drama.

I just got back from SA about an hour ago. I got to spend some quality time with my precious littles as well! Time does fly though, when you're having fun.

kj said...

renee, i saw madame butterfly for the first time this year. i was surprised how much i liked it and followed it, but i thought the american g.i. was a total horrible jerk. his insensitivity really pissed me off. so i cried for butterfly--her innocence and loyalty undeservedly scorned.

i really like that you included a fashion update on you three fashionable women. and renee, i liked the whole idea of you enjoying yourself at the opera, in a restaurant, laughing with your sisters, nodding off...

love you moon sister.
kj

Delwyn said...

Hi Renee,
what a treat, dinner and the opera and cakes to follow.

I have done the same nodding off but this time at the Bolshoi Ballet. I think it was the excitement of going, getting the family babysat and driving 2+ hours to the city - all I needed then was a snooze...and I have to admit those Bolshoi Ballerinas that I saw were pretty middle aged and heavy...quite surprising. They did nothing to keep me awake...

Anonymous said...

hmmpf! where are you? do you need jellybeans?

yours truly,
emily r.

kj said...

ah, see what happens when one reads or writes too fast? of course it was your daughters. i have so many images of you with so many wonderful loving women i see you in all kinds of scenes...

xo

BT said...

I knew that was Butterfly from the picture, which is delightful by the way. Madama Butterfly is my favourite opera. I know it almost by heart and have the full opera on CD. Unfortunately it was common practise for Americans to take 'wives' and then never come back. And he only came back so he could take his son away. I always cry in Butterfly, always.

I have been able to go to see operas since I was a child as my father was the percussionist at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, so we often had tickets. I was privilaged to see Joan Sutherland as Lucia De Llamamoor. Sometimes we had dress rehearsal tickets if 'top names' were in it and this was the case with Lucia. It was so exciting as they actually repeated some of it! That's a rarity at The Garden.

Mustn't go on, I've gone all nostalgic. I've seen Butterfly about 10 times!!

Love
BT (butterfly?)

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Renee :) Sounds like a wonderful evening :) I love the opera and do go often. A good opera is truly magic; a bad one, well.......LOL

Anyways, love the picture and the story :D

Have a Beautiful Day!

BT said...

I have just been reading the comments and feel a bit sad that so many people have never been to the opera. You must all go and with an open mind! Opera is an art form and we don't all sing to each other but you probably all enjoyed the old musicals and they're much the same. Hardly realistic!!

Angelique, oh dear oh dear!! You must listen to the music a few times and I guarantee you will be humming along!! The song everyone is on about it where Butterfly gets cross with Suzuki for saying Pinkerton won't come back and she then sings 'Un bel die vedramo' or, One Fine Day (he will come back). It's a magical, beautiful, emotional song.

kj said...

renee, i've been surrounded more by loving women than men for the past years (!) but that has changed due to my dear son-in-law mike and mr. ryan and now mr. drew.
oh, i had a husband for twelve years too!

i just read bella's comments in your last post, renee. i don't mean to pry, but i've wondered if you have been feeling okay. i thought something might be troublesome. how are you? damn when things are not well for you.

xoxo

Karin said...

Hey Renee, You're such a wonderful story teller, and I loved your telling of this full sounding evening with your girls! i would have been so with you in feeling disgust for the arrogant American ... too sad though, that a woman can allow a man be the all, the everything, and so completely lose herself, especially to someone so unworthy! I've only seen one opera myself, and I'm thinking they aren't for me - too much drama and too many poor choices! If you ever find an opera that portrays the message "oh, get over yourself" let me know - I'd like to see that :)
p.s. see you out on the patio - the sun should be out again next week!
xoxo Karin

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Renee, I get the themes from Theme Thursday http://themethursday.blogspot.com/
Every Sunday a new one is listed & one can sign on to blog to the subject or not. I don't always have an idea about the subject matter.

kj said...

i knew something wasn't right. here i was planting all these little f words in your garden and i didn't stop to bring you some hot tea. anyway, i'm glad you're feeling better.

what are you doing this weekend? two of my childhood friends are coming to visit me--after years of not seeing eachother. my heart is excited by it. and i am tending to the yard, then mother's day with jess.

hey, i really like tessa's blog! you have some totally wonderful blog buddies. love you, renee. honest, yup, i do...

:)

kj said...

they are coming for the day, and maybe staying for dinner. they both lived across the street from me on the little lane where my father built our 6 room house.

what are you doing for mother's day, renee? will you get presents?

you are a double sweetheart. i love you so much.

xo

kj said...

i'll be hugging my mother and then going to jess' house with dinner in tow.

good night renee. sleep tight.
xo

citizen of the world said...

Sounds like you had a lovely time, and I'm so glad. There's somethign magical about a night out like that.

Manon Doyle said...

Your description of Madame Butterfly makes me want to see it! Sounds sad but I usually cry at the theatre. I cried each time I saw Phantom of the Opera...lol! Rum and pills..... lucky you saw any of the show...lol!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

I can just picture the three of you having a wonderful night out! I have never been to the opera - you make it sound so beautiful. I do love outings with my Mother and Daughter though - in fact next weekend, the three of us will be going to a Quilt and craft fair together - we look forward to it every year :) Hope your Mothers Day is an extra special one!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved the tale, the atmosphere and most of all, I loved the image. I am not an opera buff unfortunately. Been to one with my wife many years ago in Cuba and we both left before hte first act finished. Not because it was a bad production, far from it, it just did not do it for us. However I love the little arias they play on Classical FM here.

You built up the ambiance with such dexterity that I felt as if I had attended the theatre with you. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like you all had a great time, Renee you have two beautiful & thoughtful daughters you are truely blessed!!! I love all of you Suzie xoxoxo

Kate James said...

What a lovely picture you paint Renee. I saw Madame Butterfly too many years ago and loved it.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day. xx

Wendy said...

What fun! What a fun evening. Even the rum and pills - oops! Glad you didn't fall asleep at the opera!

I've seen operettas before, but I don't think I've been to a real opera. My mother used to take me when I was a youngster. Dad, of course, wouldn't go.

Nice to spend an evening with good friends.

Meghann said...

Wooo sounds like it was so good! And the food! Oh yum! I'm glad you had a great night, you certainly deserve it :)

Snowbrush said...

Well, Renee, I didn't see a response, but then I know you don't often respond. I'm here.

Chris said...

I'm catching up, here. This image you have here is lovely!

I'm not much for opera, but I have a fondness for classic tragedy. We aren't often allowed to express those fears or the existential sadness of mortality and solitude, so when I see or read a tragedy, it hits home for me.
Thanks for sharing this story!