In such a small theater, the company puts on full-scale operas. Scenery and costumes are fully-realized, tend to be very colorful and well-lit. The singers are outstanding. It is a special treat to see a production of this quality so close to the stage. It has to cost a great deal more than the tickets can possibly bring in. So, even though the theater was nearly full last night, there were numerous pleas for support in the program and items for sale in the lobby.
We saw A Masked Ball, by Verdi. Neither my sister nor I had seen it before, or heard it. I think we both wished we had. It was hard to know if it would have enduring qualities for us from seeing it one time. There were no arias that particularly stood out, for me, that grabbed me by the throat, but there were several with intricate, varied rhythms and melodic changes that I feel I could get to love.
The story had all the requisite elements. An unknown European kingdom. A fortune-teller. The gallows. Mysterious goings-on. Betrayal. Death that comes slowly, with the dyer singing his heart out to the end. There were a few extra tidbits that defied explanation, or at least to us. The angel arriving at the end? Perhaps this had something to do with what a good king Riccardo was...
I eat these things up, the overblown drama of it. I loved the elaborate scenery, the visual feast of it, and I very much loved the voices of the two principals. It was a fer piece to go to see an opera, for me, but decidedly worth it.
Of course, I didn't just see an opera. Yesterday afternoon, after I arrived at Mary's house, we went down to San Jose to visit Mike, Michelle, and Mikey. They all seem in good spirits and good condition. Mike looks much healthier than when we last saw him, and had news about the transplant sitch. He is going in for a consultation in March, as I recall, and that's when he will learn the process and timing and so on. It seems more and more likely that either Michelle or I will be able to donate a kidney, although there are so many factors that we cannot know yet. What we can see is that Mike is strong and may be a great candidate.
Mikey is loving his temp home, with its grassy backyard. Mike says he never walks, just runs, and he was doing a lot of that yesterday. He loves throwing little balls and running after them, drawing on the fence with chalk, and chewing buttons of telephones (he's teething). He's a very happy little fellow.
This morning Mary and I went out for breakfast, then wandered around some stores. I bought a few things at a wonderful Japanese stationery store, and bought some clothing at J. Jill, then we found things at Bloomingdale's and we both came out of there with more clothing (mine a gift from Mary). Shopping in Palo Alto is not like shopping in SLO.
It's good to be home, and I am glad I went. I still have tomorrow to relax, work on web stuff for the chorale, do Elsa's taxes...