For the uninitiated, the opera can be intimidating. But for those who have given it a chance, the opera can be a delightful way to spend the afternoon.
Saturday, a group of Ardmore citizens did just that at The Goddard Center’s presentation of the Met Live: “La Fille Du Regiment.” Inside the theater, a large screen streamed the live performance from The Metropolitan Opera in New York. The French lyrics were subtitled in English.
“La Fille Du Regiment” is a comedy written by Gaetano Donizetti and tells the story of Marie, an orphan raised by the 21st regiment of the French Army. In the first act, a wealthy woman recognizes Marie as her niece and whisks her away to a castle. Soon Marie finds herself engaged to a duke even though she loves a soldier from the regiment. The second act is a series of humorous misadventures. However Marie ends up learning of her true parentage and engaged to the man she loves.
Elsa Davis and her cousin Sara Alicia Mendez were in the audience, and are regular attendees of presentations from The Met Live. Mendez is a long-time fan of opera, and Davis joined in the fun three years ago.
“My dad introduced me to opera back when I was 15 years old,” Mendez said. “I fell in love, and I loved it from the beginning. That was back in the day when they didn’t have subtitles, but my dad said to just close your eyes, listen to the music, and let it take you on a journey.”
“To me, this is the best combination of live and on camera,” Davis said. “It’s the experience of seeing real people, but unlike sitting there in person, you can actually see the actors.”
Davis said that in addition to reading the subtitles, she finds it helpful to research the opera before attending, which can be especially important when seeing a performance where translations are not displayed.
Both Davis and Mendez agreed that the best opera for a beginner is Carmen.
“Carmen is the ultimate love story. Passion, music — it has it all,” Mendez said. “If it’s going to be your first, you’ll just get sucked in.”
Davis wishes more people in Ardmore would give opera a chance, and challenged everyone to give it a try.
“I would challenge the people of this town to bring their children (to the opera), so they can develop as full human beings. Today, music and art are not really areas that the kids are encouraged to pursue. But if they come to one of these performances they’ll light up. It’s a totally different experience, and hopefully they’ll like it enough to keep it going,” Davis said.