In a previous post, I mentioned that attending an opera was one of the items on my bucket list. Though I love music and the performing arts, I am in no shape or form knowledgeable enough, but have always thought of it as an essential experience any person should have.
The opportunity presented itself as we were doing research ahead of our trip to Prague, where not only did I discover that the city and Opera are very closely intertwined, but that it is subsidized, allowing for cheaper entry fees- and making it one of the not-to-be-missed experiences for any visitor to the city. To ensure the best experience possible, you can find the schedule and book tickets online before you have even packed your bag (what I did!).
Again, I will admit that my ignorance in this field came on full display, as I did not know of the rich history and culture that Prague had to offer until I did more reading. I was, for example, thrilled to discover that Mozart debuted his opera Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre, which we saw on our walking tour earlier that day, in 1787!
Not only were we fortunate to find affordable tickets (20 USD each) to the Opera on the same day of our arrival to Prague, but that the production would be that of La Boheme, at the glorious National Theatre. Even I know that this opera, composed by Puccini, is one of the more popular and most frequently performed- so my expectations were already sky-high. It was made all the more special because the Czech company performs it only a few times a year.
Those expectations were instantly exceeded once we saw the theatre building. I first noticed how big it is, before crossing the street to take in the views of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
And when we did go inside, I was struck by how ornate it all was- leading me to question if I was actually under-dressed in my formal shirt and nice slacks.
I won’t deny, I was thrilled that we had arrived early because that allowed us to take our seats quickly (after climbing multiple flights of stairs) and watch as the opera house filled up.
Around us on the upper decks, tourists flocked, some in jeans- assuring me that I was dressed just fine. Then I saw the occupants of the seats closest to the stage, decked out in their finest, leading to muse that we would probably only be able to see this in Prague.
I have to note that while I was consumed in my thoughts, Ahmad was feeling very uncomfortable. The seats were not designed to accommodate for my 6 foot 3 husband, and I have to say I’m surprised he made it through the evening.
Suddenly the curtains opened and the orchestra played the first few notes indicating that the show was underway. From that moment on, I forgot about the surroundings and began to focus on the stage and the screen overhead which provided the much needed subtitles for the non-Italian speaking among us.
Now, I would like to tell you more about La Boheme’s plot. But that means I have to admit that at some points I did not fully understand what was going on. Blame lack of sleep and too much Italian, I guess? As embarrassing as it sounds, towards the end of the opera’s two hour run, my eyes were starting to shut all by themselves.
In my defense though, I really enjoyed the music and the singing, so I went to Wikipedia the next day to fill in the gaps in the storyline- so that’s got to show for my willingness to learn, no?
What I do know is that I loved it enough that it stands out in my memory as one of the most remarkable things we saw or did in Prague- and remarkable enough to be among my recommendations if you ever find yourself there.