Saturday, May 3, 2014
There is nothing quite like a night at the opera, especially if you know nothing at all about opera. For a music lover I have always been woefully ignorant on the subject. My hometown was not known for the arts. Our highschool put on a musical once in a while, and plays frequently, but not opera. And while our high school chorus teacher did a great job introducing us to classical music, he was an open admirer of Baroque music. If I learned an opera tune (not counting the theme from "Pippin"), I can't recall. Bugs Bunny did what he could to remedy the lack, singing "Figaro!" at the top of his lungs in the shower, but it wasn't enough. So I never have the slightest clue what sort of thing I'll be seeing when I go. Tragedy? Comedy? No idea.
Babygirl, however, is a fan of the opera. She's a fan of any stage show (almost left the 'e' off of that, and spellcheck would have missed it!). We were gifted tickets, so we made a night of it. We drove downtown to discover crowds of people. We'd forgotten about First Friday, and our theater is in the heart of the arts district. There were street performers, restaurants were full, and there were a much larger than average number of families with small kids wandering everywhere. It took us a while to realize that not only was it opera night and First Friday, but the circus is in town. It was a good thing we went early - parking got tighter and tighter as we wandered around deciding what to eat.
The opera was hysterical. The music was lively, the cast talented, the costumes lovely. Many of the people seated near us were so familiar with the music that they were dancing in their seats. I've never heard such laughter at a classical performance. It would have been the most fun imaginable, except...
Babygirl and I were both on edge a little. Migraines trigger so easily! Both of us were aware of the shrill of the piccolo warming up, the sharp edge of the percussion, the dance of stage lighting on costume glitz. Each of us knew that anything - or nothing at all - could trigger a headache that would send us both home.
Migraine is a crap shoot. You never know when you're going to need to pull the car over. There is no predicting when you are going to have to choose between suffering the pain of the supermarket lights or leave a basket full of needed shopping behind. Keeping a Ziploc bag in the bottom of your purse for sudden nausea is normal.
I had severe headaches Wednesday and Thursday nights. The week before last I had headaches for six days in a row. Babygirl has them almost every day. Making plans more than a few hours ahead is a big risk. Migraine adds a level of fear to every aspect of life: Every plan, every hour, every moment. Is this when it's going to hit this time?
But it makes the good times all the sweeter. Babygirl and I came out of the opera house laughing and triumphant. We both made it, we both had a great time, and we both laughed out loud. A LOT. She took my hand as we were walking, both of us jabbering about the joys of the evening. Nearing home, I took a corner rather abruptly, and Babygirl said, "You're going to fast!" "We didn't die, did we?"
Her reply was profound: "How do we know we didn't? For all I know I died when I was born and I just don't know it yet!" I asked, "If we don't know we're dead then what is the point of dying?" "I don't know if dying has ANY point."
PS As best I can remember Bugs Bunny never sang anything from Die Fledermaus.
PPS Even after watching the entire opera, I had to come home and use Google to find out that a fledermaus is a bat. Shoot me - I'm slow.