After making my debut in opera (as an audience, just to be clear), I could not wait to go to the next one. Le Nozze di Figaro was the one I wanted to see the most out of all the programs the Metropolitan Opera had in this season primarily because I had been a fan of its music for many years.
Rush ticket attempt failed…
There were three shows in the last two weeks of February before going into a break for two months until spring. I originally thought about going to the one on 20th, just the day after I saw Rigoletto, but it turned out that you are not eligible for rush tickets ($25 orchestra seats) within 7 days after your last one, which left January 29th the only chance for me to see Nozze with a rush ticket.
So the day came, and I sat in front of my laptop at 11:58 am, logged into my account, and waited. In less than a second after the clock hit noon, I reloaded the page and clicked the “Buy Ticket” button. It failed to go to the next page saying “Do the human Captcha.” I managed to control my shaky hands and did the human captcha above. But it was too late. All rush tickets were gone. A new lesson: when you want to get a rush ticket, make sure you 1. Log in beforehand, 2. Reload the page at noon, 3. Finish Captcha first!!!, then 4. Click “Buy Tickets”.
Side balcony seats are underrated!
I was simply not able to give up the show. April sounded too far away (I know it’s not). I quickly checked the remaining seats in the side balconies, which I knew were $30 and affordable. There was mercifully one seat left, and I purchased it right away.
Having been spoiled in the 10th row of the orchestra seats for my first opera experience, I assumed with the side balcony seat, it was going to be less of an experience. But my expectation was proven wrong.
View from the side balcony seat (Intermission)
As you can see in the photo, at the expense of some parts of the stage, the side balcony gives you a three-dimensional view of the stage. I personally also loved to see the orchestra pit. The visual access helped me figure out which instrument was contributing to which sound.
The Humour translates after 200+ years
I never got to know the story of Nozze until yesterday even though I had been listening to its music. It was very humourous, and the audience burst into laughter a number of times throughout the show. Especially after seeing Rigoletto, the story of which is so tragic and beyond redemption, Nozze gave me a new aspect into opera.
One of the occasions I got to familiarise myself with this opera piece was when I watched the 2017 movie “Interlude in Prague”. The story was based on the time Mozart spent in Prague as Nozze, as far as I understand, was more appreciated by people in Prague than in Vienna, and he was invited to perform there and write another piece, which becomes “Don Giovanni”. I don’t remember the detail of the film, but I think it was rather a tragedy (although the music was beautiful), and thus I never really expected Nozze to be such a humourous comedy. I now want to watch the movie again and also do some fact-based reading into that period of Mozart’s life.
An Intriguing Relationship between “Nozze” and New York City
I was reading the leaflet after the show and was surprised to find out that Lorenzo Da Ponte, the libratto writer of Nozze, migrated to the US and eventually settled in New York. He became the first professor at Columbia College (now University) and was instrumental in developing an audience for Italian opera. According to this website, in 1833, at the age of 84, Da Ponte founded America’s first opera house - the New York Opera Company. Owing to his lack of business acumen, however, it lasted only two seasons before it was disbanded and the theatre sold to pay the company’s debts. It was, however, the predecessor of the New York Academy of Music and the Metropolitan Opera. It would be interesting to read more into his life in the US too.
I overall had a great time at the show. I will try to go again when the production comes back in spring. I am also tempted to do a pop arrangement of some of the songs in Nozze. Maybe “Se vuol ballare”…
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