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Carmen & Madame Butterfly

September 1, 2010

Two Opera nights we had during our stay. The first night we rode from our hotel in Parona down to Verona, all the way along the river, parking just outside the old castle in the centre. Great ride, the disadvantage being that red wine was kind of tabu for us. But worth it, since we were not dependent on a bus that might or might not come, especially since the bus companies were on strike that day.

We saw Madame Butterfly on the first night, and Carmen on the second. Carmen was première that night, so the Arena was full to almost the last place.

Oh dear. Opera. Booooring, you might think. Well, I am not a particular Opera fan, but in this environment one could become one. Why? Because of the atmosphere. Despite the Opera festival being quite touristy (people come even for a day down from Vienna just to see a piece) Opera there is quite pure. By that I mean the atmosphere, the set, how everything is put in place. The Arena itself makes a lot of that, definitely due to being an old Roman Amphitheatre.

We sat far up in the Arena, on the stones which have been warmed all day by the sun. So you had your personal bum heating. Not that it was particularly needed during these hot days, but hey. Then, one automatically thinks what it might have been like sitting here during Roman times? Since we sat that high up, at least during the first night, one got even a glimpse of the Verona silhouette. That way the entire town became somehow part of the set. Not to forget the bats who where conveniently hunting insects in the lights of the set.

Anyway, here a few pictures:

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In order to give a better impression on what the atmosphere was like during the Carmen-première night, now some videos. Not sure if one sees it, but it is custom in the Arena that small candles are lit before the piece starts and the music of the live orchestra fills the air in the venue up to the very top rows. Acoustics and view are simply marvellous.

This one is taken just before the start of the performance:

There is also a professional one from the Italian TV station RAI

And last but not least another amateur recording from the Carmen performance. A bit shaky at the beginning, but stay with it a while, it gets better and has nice clear pictures of the stage and definitely one of the better sounds among the videos one finds.

When I look at all these I could go back immediately, never mind the hot weather. Such great two nights it were!

Tempted? Then you might want to check out the schedule for 2011. Don’t think we will be back next year, but we will definitely be back.

This is how a post can end up talking more about opera than motorcycling. I want to mention, though, that the ride back after the opera along the river was just magic. It was obviously dark, only a few street lights on, and one could feel the fresh air from the river Adige on one’s skin, through the thin shirts we wore. That’s how summer nights should be really.

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