Over the last couple of years, I have seen two simulcasts of the Dallas Opera, both at Cowboy’s Stadium on the giant video screen. First was Turandot and then, a year later, The Barber of Seville. Despite the compromises in seeing an opera in a football stadium – I enjoyed both performances… a lot.
So now, I found out that the Dallas Opera was doing another simulcast on opening night, this time The Marriage of Figaro, and outdoors at Klyde Warren Park, instead of the stadium. This looked great to me, I’m a big fan of Klyde Warren and it’s a sequel to The Barber of Seville. Plus it’s free. Plus I have never seen a Mozart Opera.
I shoved a thick blanket into a backpack and took the DART train downtown after work. I thought of taking my bicycle, but decided to walk it anyway. I hurt my foot (Plantar fasciitis) a couple weeks ago backpacking, but managed to limp my way down to the park. I arrived early, so I was able to stake out some grassy real estate right in front of the giant screen.
As I was waiting I finished reading Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata. It was interesting to compare the novella with the opera. Although they could not be any different in tone… and of course in the ending, the two shared a lot of theme in ideas of jealousy, the treatment of women, and how love can turn unhappy. Although The Marriage of Figaro is billed as a light farce – a comedic farce – there is deep meaning and sadness concealed under a layer of genius.
The opera was great. The park was a better setting than the stadium – the sound system was so much better. Without the echoing of the vast dome, the sound came through loud and clear.
It was also fun watching all the other people at the park. Most arrived in big groups with packs full of tupperware containers bulging with food and coolers of wine. As they drank and ate – the behavior on the lawn became as slapstick as the ones on the screen.
The only problem was one of time and comfort. I arrived at the park at five o’clock and the opera ended around midnight. That means I was stuck on a blanket in the grass for seven hours. That’s too long – I’m too old for that. I was awfully sore when I rode the train back home in the wee early hours.