It’s not over until the fat lady sings
“My dreams, my dreams! What has become of their sweetness? What indeed has become of my youth?”
― Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin
I was given one last chance to see the opera again before my semester ended and at the risk of being predictable, I went to the opera yet again. This time the trip was to see “Eugene Onegin” with my Russian music theory class, having read the poetry-based novel for class.
The fantastic dress that I wore was made by my aunt several years ago, and is now officially mine. She would want me to mention the asymmetrical bodice of the dress, being an architect who knows and cares about such things as “asymmetry.”
Regardless of how I actually looked in it, the dress made me feel regal. I wanted to look like Ava Gardner, or some other decadent Hollywood starlet from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s the opera: the time to bring the glamour.
I wore the dress to class because I didn’t have time to change after class, or at least, that’s what I told myself. Then afterwards, there was the small business of getting into the city and into my seat in time for the curtain to rise. Time was already going to be tight since class got out only about an hour before the show started and with the 45 minute train ride, I was especially in a hurry.
Just as I was leaving however, a storm blew in and nearly blew me away. Please note the green rain boots with the ball gown. The trendiness is next level. I spent the whole day doing my hair just for five minutes of rain to ruin it. I got off the train as planned and on schedule, but that’s about the last thing that went as planned.
I then learned the joys of trying to get a cab out in the rain, which apparently no one does and every New Yorker knows but me. One does not get a cab in the pouring rain. One does however stand on a street corner in the pouring rain with their arm in the air, getting frustrated.
I weigh about 115 pounds soaking wet– which I happened to be at the time–so I’m sure that I was exactly the type of person you would want to pull on your bike if you had to. I don’t know what I expected of my night, but pulling up to the opera in a rickshaw, wearing a ball gown in the pouring rain, wasn’t it.
I was in such a foul mood from getting rained on and not making it to the opera on time. I’m sure I had the same resting bitch face that my cat Calypso has at any given moment.
As they say in the opera, “I’m suffering. I’m unhappy. I’m ready to weep.” In case you think that I’m being dramatic for saying that about showing up a few minutes late for the opera, after having seen a different opera a few weeks earlier, just know that the teenage character was saying that about falling in love and wanting to die.
When you show up late to the Metropolitan Opera House, they let you sit in a separate theater where you can watch what’s happening. I was seething inwardly and upset enough to make a scene, but took a deep breath and kept it inside of me. Dramatically making a scene at the opera seems a little too meta.
When I was finally let in, the show was phenomenal. The lighting for the opera was better than any other show I’d ever seen. It was beautiful, not just because of the costumes, the singing, or the music, but because of the story. Onegin is based on poetry, not tragedy, and like most poetry it has a clear theme of love and some heartbreak but does not end with the woman dying. Instead, the woman ends up married to someone royal after being rejected by the titular character and even though he asks for her back in the end, she now rejects him, staying married and amazing.
Having read the novel, I enjoyed hearing the people behind me discuss it.
“So she told me that this is based on a novel by Pushkin.”
“Why is it called Eugene Onegin when it’s more about her?”
“Eugene is the worst.”
It was all almost good enough for me to ignore the fact that I was freezing cold from the rain. Following the opera, my friends and I raced through the subway to get back to campus before the last train left, basically the thing that I hadn’t done to get to the opera in the first place. At about one in the morning, I was back in my dorm room, enjoying having been to the Met one last time. Between next semester when I’m in Florence and this summer when I’m all over the place, I’m not sure when I’ll next be at the Metropolitan Opera House, but with Eugene Onegin, I ended on a high note.
The Tragic Queen,