Saturday, March 3, 2012

La Scala Surprise

Yesterday I received some exciting news. It seems as though I am going to the opera and not just any opera, but an opera at the world famous La Scala theatre in Milan! It all started a few days ago when I was having a conversation with my mother about the critically acclaimed Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the subject of opera came up. My parents have always had a fondness for the arts and throughout my life tried to expose me to exhibitions, ballet and the theatre especially.

As a child I recall being one of those little girls who would dance around in the foyer during the intermission of the Christmas showing of the Nutcracker and remember going to see many plays in London when I lived in England during my youth. One particularly vivid memory that I have is of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. My mother and I had managed to score tickets that were right up near the stage and we were so close that the actors even interacted with us during the performance. At one point a particularly cheeky feline decided that it would be a good idea to steal the Ferrari baseball cap that I was wearing. He snatched it right off the top of my head and proceeded to taunt me with it for several moments, fantastic fun!

While my appreciation of the theatre has been maturing for many years, I have quite shockingly never managed to see an opera. Although I have spent time in both London and Vienna, I never made it a priority to visit either The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden or The Vienna Opera House. When I was younger I didn’t really see the importance of seizing every opportunity in front of me but now that my aim is to live life without regrets, I tend to try anything and everything that takes my fancy. I have always had a fascination with opera simply because it is supposed to invoke extreme emotions and I, as you probably already have guessed, am quite an emotional person. Therefore I promised myself at the beginning of the year that in 2012 I would at long last attend my first ever opera at the most famous opera house in the world.

For those of you who have been to La Scala before, you know that deciding to attend an opera there and actually purchasing the coveted tickets are two different things entirely. First of all tickets always seem to sell out almost the instant that they go on sale and then there is also the matter of the price. While standing tickets are quite reasonable and can be purchased for under twenty Euros, if you want to actually see any of the stage you will end up shelling out over one hundred Euros for one seat alone! This brings me back to the conversation that I was having with my mother. I explained during the course of our conversation that while I would dearly love to go and see the particular opera that I now have a ticket for, I simply could not justify spending so much money on one night alone. Imagine my surprise when the very next day, she had sent me an email letting me know that both her and her partner thought that it was important that I went to see the opera and were prepared to finance the evening! Shortly after receiving the news, I was on La Scala’s website, typing in my name and praying that there were still some tickets available. After a brief moment of pause, I had it right in front of me on the computer screen, confirmation that I would indeed be going to La Scala this year!

After my initial moment of euphoria, my thoughts began to turn towards another matter that I had previously neglected to think about, what does a person wear to an opera at La Scala? Of course I had a few ideas of my own after watching many Hollywood movies over the years and envisioned elegant ball gowns and jewel encrusted tiaras. Sadly for me, I do not own a tiara and while I love the idea of dressing up for an event, the thought of sitting on the train from Lodi in what is essentially a glorified prom dress did not appeal to me. I decided that I would scour the internet for advice and hope that I could get away with wearing something a little more understated.

Thankfully after only a few moments of searching, I came across the perfect article. The author is a blogger known as Opera Chic. She is North American like I am and from what I have read, has managed to establish herself as an authority on La Scala and opera in general.  In her article, she advises not to go for the tiaras and ball gowns unless you want to look like a tourist. Luckily for me, apparently understated is the way to go in Milan. Following Opera Chic’s advice, I pulled a few pieces out of my wardrobe and managed to combine them into something that should be formal enough for the event and yet not get me confused for an escaped Euro Disney princess.

Overall I am overwhelmingly excited to be attending my first ever opera. If you had told me one year ago that I would be headed to La Scala, I would have never believed you. It just goes to show that if you aren’t afraid to take chances and always remain open to new possibilities, anything is possible. Who knows, maybe this time next year I will be climbing Mount Everest…I’ll keep you posted!

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