Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My tryst with Opera

I had planned a couple of treats for myself on this trip. First such treat was watching an Opera composed by Mozart at the Estates Theater in Prague where he had premiered this very production in Oct 1787. Thanks to some luck and some efforts at my end, I was able to procure first floor balcony seats with a great stage view at a very reasonable price. 

After spending the afternoon at the Castle, we came back to t he hotel, had a quick snack and changed into some fine evening clothes to enjoy this special treat. The weather had cooled down even more, making the walk to the theater a pleasurable experience in itself. As we neared the theater, we witnesses an amazing scene. There was an event in progress by ISKCON - people were singing bhajans, were dressed in sarees and kurta-pajamas, there was a smell of marigold all around. It was almost 8 pm and I didn't want to be late, so we reluctantly left the festivities and entered the theater.

View of the Balconies from our box
We were shown towards our seats - it was a box with 4 movable chairs and we were the only occupants of the box! There were still a few minutes for the performance to begin, and we used that time to soak in the ambiance. The Estates Theater is not very large and that makes it even more special. It has been restored beautifully and is a feast for the eyes.

View of the stage and floor from our seats

You can see the Orchestra just below the stage

At sharp 8 pm, the lights were dimmed and the orchestra stared playing. After about 5 min, the curtain rose on the first act. It was very thrilling to watch a live opera production in such an iconic place. The orchestra was good and so were the voices of the the actors. The stage sets and costumes were also impressive.

Act 1
Looks like a painting!

Notice the changing sets

Amazing costumes

Since the Opera was in Italian, I followed the English translation of it on my phone. I could have bought the Libretto (opera booklet) at the theater but it would have cost me plus I would have required light to read it. Phone turned out to be a better option both ways.

There was an intermission between the two acts where I decided to call it a night. It was already 9:30 pm and I didn't have enough energy to last another 90 minutes, due to the fever I was running since previous night. We slowly walked back to the hotel, grabbed a quick bite at the bar and crashed!

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