New York and back for 50 Euros
Sitting in first class comfy seats with attentive staff serving drinks and snacks, enjoying fancy Dolby Surround sound, to attend an opera performance at the New York Metropolitan – all for 50 Euros…
…is sadly not a description of a decadent frequent flyer deal (I recently read that American Airlines has stopped issuing unlimited air-travel tickets for life) but, as in this case, it is just my experience at the sparkling Megaron Athens Concert Hall.
So, I am not talking flight tickets to New York. (Sorry.)
Instead, we attended a projection of a popular Mozart piece straight from the New York Metropolitan Opera (in November 2012), comfortably seated at the modern Megaron Athens Concert Hall. I have to say that I was positively surprised by the acoustic quality of the live transmission from the Met. The visual impressions were just as excellent.
The Athens Concert Hall is splash out megalomania with grand halls and imposing foyers with state-of-the-art equipment to serve orchestras and musical ensembles, as well as transmissions of top venues anywhere in the world.
Each cast member was given a short introduction and there were entertaining interviews with the sopranos during intermission. The two grand female singers Kate Lindsey and Elina Garanca were taking on trouser roles.
Another very good idea was to screen an interview with the stars backstage. The audience could see what was going on behind the scenes.
The opera showed off great voice variations and costumes and stage decoration, yet somehow the highly stylized opera act was projecting artificiality. In parts and my mind was wandering to other places, sort of like when watching soap opera on TV with my mum in law or granny.
Looking for ballet distraction.
Actually, I thought it was pretty much like a Brazilian melodramatic TV soap, except the characters singing conversations out loud. I am also not not sure if it is a good idea to stick with baroque opera garb while the setting is ancient Rome.
However, I did like the costumes. It is worth to note that the heaving bosom of a traditional, generously proportioned opera diva has been replaced by slimmer waists and well-fitted outfits.
Five minutes to the show and a lot of gorgeous outfit inspirations for a Venetian Carnival Masquerade (my big wish for next year).
The art of opera and maybe the (my) general problem with opera is that characters are singing to one another instead of speaking. Yeah, I literally have no clue about opera but I felt there was little room for genuine identification with any of the characters. Opera is a bit grotesque in that it is so very unnatural and unrealistic.
On the other hand it is nothing short of a genius composition, when considering that Mozart wrote it hastily in only a few weeks for the coronation of Austrian Emperor Leopold II. On top of that Mozart was finishing his last opera Die Zauberflöte right about at the same time. He died a few months after the première performance of his works in 1791.
The plot is simple: Roman emperor Titus is portrayed as a very generous ruler, constantly exercising clemency and magnanimity, exaggerating those virtues. Well, to be fair the title was La clemenza di Tito.
So Titus finds out about the conspiracy by his closest friend and bride-to-be to assassinate him. He forgives them in a grand opera finale, the most spectacular part of the opera presenting the brilliant Met chorus.
Do you like opera? Maybe there’s a better one to start with. I am open to suggestions.
FAQs: Using the Athens Metro Line 3, Megaro Moussikis station is just outside the Megaron Concert Hall. We bought tickets online through http://www.megaron.gr/. Our front seats were 25 Euros per person.