Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drama onstage and off

All was well in row P for Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera last night until the beginning of Act III, when I witnessed an offstage drama in the row just ahead of me.

I didn't pay much attention to the couple who sat in front of me before the performance.  He was a 60-something man of modest height, smartly dressed, banker's rimless wireframe glasses.  She taller but much much younger (20s-early 30 something), long auburn hair, more makeup than she needed, gold hoop earrings, and tight form-fitting orange pants that accentuated her shapely anatomy.  Father/ daughter night at the opera, surely.  :)  I returned to chatting with the guy sitting next to me, a Japanese music student in from Tokyo for a week of performances at the Met.

Act I.  Renee Fleming and Stephanie Blythe were belting out their tunes like there was no tomorrow.  Thrilling, except for the constant fidgeting and whispering and gesturing going on between the couple in front.  Her head bobbing up, down, sideways, unable to sit still.  He looking over at her every 15 seconds, affectionate whispering in ears back and forth, giggling, he bending over to check something in the footlights in the aisle, constant motion.   Constant whispering.  Finally, about 2/3 of the way through Act I, I had to say something, so I leaned forward with a gentle admonishment and request.  Motion and conversation ceased.  All was well.

Act II.  The country manor where Rusalka discovers the drawbacks of conversion to human form---sadness and betrayal and dismay.  The 'good stuff' wasn't on the menu for this evening.  The couple in front reasonably well behaved, having exited the hall during intermission for their smokes and their drinks, although the woman played with her long hair throughout the act, brushing it to one side then another, then over the back of her seat, completely obscuring the Met Titles screen in the seatback.  Oh man, what to do, what to do.  Focus.

Act III.  Trouble began early in row O, a perfect complement to the unraveling of the personal lives onstage.  The woman's fidgeting and jerky head movements began to unnerve me again, the hair in my screen, etc.  At one point her jerky head movements triggered loud clicking noises in her neck, along with occasional hiccups.  She reached for something across the man's lap, he jerked his hand back, and she literally lunged across his lap, struggling for whatever it was and they both practically fell to the floor, arm-wrestling.  Loud stage-whispers, and people all around me and them shooshing and loudly asking them to stop.  The man gathered his coat and ran out, as she called after him "You owe me $700 for this".  Gee.  She sat in silence for a while and then began talking on her cell phone, at one point putting the conversation on speaker for all of us to hear.  That was it, people around me very upset.  She left.  My sitelines were perfect.   But so troubled inside by what I had witnessed.

Never a dull moment, right?  I should have been grateful for the 2 for 1 value I was getting for my very expensive ticket.  If only the couple in row O had been singing their way through their troubles, I might have stood and applauded rather than sighed with relief when the drama ended.

1 comment:

  1. This is hysterical. Sounds like a late night hotel story. Yes, I'm reading Bob and learning. You always have amazing adventures and I'm gonna do the e-mail wrd for the day. Love it. That's in reference to an older post.