Hand over heart – did you really utterly love opera the first time you saw one? Did you melt into one hundred little streams of joy, or did you zone out before the end of the first act, when you realized you didn’t understand Italian or German or Hungarian and forgot to buy the libretto? And when it was all over, did you spend an infinity in your seat while the rest of the theater demanded four bows and fifteen minutes of ovation before you were finally allowed to leave?
Halfway into my third opera, gritting teeth, I remember realizing that the story is the tip of the iceberg. I let go, allowing the music to wash over me, and focused on the details: the intricate weave of notes, the gorgeous and creative stage set-up, the impossible notes sung by the coloratura soprano, and the way the conductor channeled another world through his body. An opera is not to be understood, it is to be felt. And sometimes, just sometimes, an opera house that allows you to walk all over it lowers the treshold – literally.
(Opera house, Oslo, Norway; April 2013)