Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eugene Opera: Pirates of Penzance

We went to the opera last night.  First time ever to an opera for either of us;  I'm pretty sure I've never even listened to one all the way through on disc.  This was, okay, a comic opera, but still it was an adventure.  I even wore a jacket and tie ("it's a bleedin' opera, innit?"). 

That in itself was an adventure.  This was the Eugene Opera, which I wasn't even aware of until last year.  But this is another one of those things that kind of amazes me about this town.  It has an opera company.  Only puts on a couple of productions a year, and I'm totally unqualified to judge the quality, but still.  We saw opera in Eugene last night.

It was The Pirates of Penzance.  Another thing we were unfamiliar with;  all I knew was the Major-General's Song, and that only as a parody.  But it was all charming.  I can see why so many people are so devoted to Gilbert & Sullivan. (For those keeping score at home, this production was modeled on the 1980 Central Park production - it had the Ruddigore interpolation and the M-G's Song reprise - but it had a full orchestra and none of the Disneyesqueries mentioned in the Wikipedia article.)

And it was a pretty cool way to spend a New Year's Eve.  I don't want to say that everyone who was anyone was there, but we did run into no fewer than three colleagues from school, and I'm sure there were more.  And many people were dressed to the nines.  Now, you have to understand that there's almost nothing in Oregon that you have to dress up for.  Khakis and a dress shirt suffice for almost any occasion;  I've only worn a tie three times since I've been here, and one of those times was a joke.  And, sure enough, I saw people in jeans last night, and at least one guy in a tie-dye shirt.  It was Eugene.  But there were also men in tails, a fellow in a tuxedo-and-kilt getup, women in fur stoles, evening gowns, and jewelry.  Like, people were going to do it right, and have a little fun while they were at it. 

So happy new year, everybody.  Let's try not to hurt anybody this year.

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