Back when I worked in Manhattan I had a friend who had season tickets for the Metropolitan Opera. She and her daugher were big opera fans, and her husband tagged along.
She knew that I like classical music and one day she asked me if I’d like to go to Turandot on a Friday evening, since her husband was out of town. I don’t particularly like Turandot because it doesn’t really have any catchy tunes like La Traviata and that gong gets annoying, plus I’ve never been crazy about Pavarotti, but she was great fun and The Husband was away on business that week. So of course I agreed. The evening of the event we went to her apartment near Lincoln Center after work, changed into evening clothes, had a nice dinner and were comfortably seated on schedule.
Too comfortably, I’m sorry to say.
Since I was commuting from Convent Station I used to get up at 5AM, and after a long week at work and a nice dinner my exhaustion caught up with me and I slept through most of the opera, briefly waking when they rang the gong. I did wake up on time for Nessun Dorma, which back then wasn’t identified with the World Cup and Three Tenors’ shouting matches. After the opera was over I profusely apologized while she assured me that she really didn’t mind, took the train home – still blushing from embarassment – and after all that napping couldn’t fall asleep for several hours once I got home.
I really was horribly embarassed, and was very surprised when several months later my friend invited me again to another opera. This time was La Traviata, which she knew I liked. Again, we went after work. While we had a very enjoyable dinner together, once we got to the Met her husband disappeared.
What I didn’t realize was that I was seated at her daughter’s seat (her daughter was out of town) the first time we went. Her husband had a separate seat, a row in front of us, to the right of my friend. Neither she nor he acknowledged each other for the duration of the evening.
I soon found out why.
Once the opera got going, he went to sleep and softly snored away, in a rythmic,
pattern that was barely audible IF the music was playing but clear enough for me to notice. If the snoring went into a crescendo my friend gently poked her husband on the back of his head, with a move that was barely noticeable.
All I could think of was that at least I don’t snore.
After the opera was over we met outside the theater, went out for a drink, I returned home – and was able to fall asleep right away.
My friend and her husband were married for over forty years. A few years after La Traviata he died of a stroke, and she died a few months after, from what all appearances looked to me of a broken heart.
In other opera news, the double good news is that The Anchoress wants me to see Bryn with her. The double bad news is that I’ll have to wait three years, and it’s Wagner (which I hate).
I’ll make sure to stay awake for that, though.