In addition to the Canadian theater festivals, August marks the annual arrival of….. THE TICKETS. <Imagine the last two words as read by James Earl Jones>
Harper’s Other Dad and I enjoy the performing arts. When we first met our tastes were more divergent. My taste runs more toward ‘edgy’ theater. He has a far greater knowledge of classical music. But over the years we’ve learned to enjoy many of the same things.
Because we enjoy the arts and like to support them, we subscribe to the local symphony, opera, and ballet companies. A few years ago we also discovered the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” performances. We subscribe in the spring but August is when the tickets arrive. Tearing along the perforated edges, organizing them by date, matching up the parking passes, and getting them into the calendar (!) has become a rite of passage for me as summer turns toward autumn. In the coming season, September – May, we will see 14 performances of the Phoenix Symphony; a total of 17 operas, and 5 ballets. There will be additions along the way for opportunities as they arise but these 36 events represent the core around which other things must be planned in terms of both time and entertainment budget.
Every year there seem to be certain coincidences that become themes for the season. If we choose to see the play at next summer’s Shakespeare Festival we will have seen the story of Romeo & Juliet in opera, ballet and play form in the same season. We will get to revisit our shared fondness for English history by seeing both an opera and a play based on the conflict between Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I.
Conflicts arise in other ways as well. In Phoenix we are lucky in that the Opera, the Symphony, and some productions of the Ballet perform in the same venue so conflicts seldom arise among their schedules. Adding the Met’s HD Series into the mix, however, can make for some challenging days.
In October we will have an ‘all Donizetti’ day when The Met presents L’Elisir d’Amore in the morning and Arizona Opera presents Lucia di Lammermoor in the evening. L’Elisir will be new for me but Lucia is a favorite.
I will celebrate my birthday in December with a full day with the Met’s Aida in the morning and The Nutcracker in the evening. Nothing says ‘birthday’ to me more than elephants and burying people alive for breakfast and military toys coming to life to fight giant rats after dinner….and cake.
In February we can celebrate Valentine’s Day with Rigoletto in the morning and Romeo and Juliet (ballet) in the evening. The daughters never seem to end well.
But without a doubt, the red-letter day on the winter calendar will be March 2, 2013 when we begin the day with Wagner’s Parsifal (all 5 hours and 40 minutes of it) and, after a brief break for nourishment and alcohol, Il Trovatore. How can you honor the approaching equinox more than by retelling the charming story of how one’s life can be ruined if you throw the wrong baby into the fire.
All in all, it should be a great season. I am excited to see my first production of Giselle. Thanksgiving weekend will be made brighter by the Friday night performance of Carmina Burana.
The operas are about evenly split between ones I have seen before and ones that will be new to me.
I think we have the high culture covered. Now I need to find couple really dark comedies and a drag show and I shall continue to be a well-rounded human being.