On Pentecost our friend Mickey prepared a Greek meal for my family. The entree was a scrumptious Moussaka. I baked a Melachrino cake for dessert. The appetizer? Puccini's opera, Turandot, and a glass of champagne served in tall red glasses. We had planned to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but I am grateful that we watched the opera instead.
I had never seen Turandot, but it is so easy to love. The one we watched featured lavish costuming and sets. Unlike most operas in my limited viewing experience, it is not confusing. In fact, it is a fairy tale involving a prince named Calaf who must answer three riddles to win the Princess Turandot or be killed. This princess is feminist at the core of her being and does not want to marry. When Calaf answers the riddles he gives Turandot an ultimatum. If she can guess his name before morning she won't have to marry him and can kill him instead. He really wants to win her heart; she really wants to kill him.
It amazes me how I can love an aria without knowing what opera it is from, the context in which it is sung, or even the meaning of the lyrics: Nessun Dorma was like that for me before Sunday. I didn't think that I could love it more, but now I do.
My husband was just as excited about Turandot as I. When we got home he did an internet search to see where we could attend a live performance. It's playing in Italy now and will come to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York this fall. With the cheap airfare deals that are being offered now, we may go. If that doesn't work out, though, we plan to attend one of the Met's Live in HD performances. Tickets go on sale in September. The theatre locations for the 2009-2010 season are not posted yet, but here is a link to the particpating theatres for this past season. Hopefully there is one near you!