the eno | the marriage of figaro

Thursday, 23 October 2014


towards the end of last month i was incredibly lucky to have been invited by the english national opera to come along to one of their infamous shows. having never been to the opera before, but considering how much i love a good musical, i was excited to head along - especially after our jaunt across to mozart's homeland back in august; when i saw that one of the options was mozart's the marriage of figaro, i knew it was a sign.

i met rebekah out the front after having grabbed the tickets from the box office, wolfed down a bag of wotsits for dinner, and been confused as "emma" by a young chap who was clearly meeting his match of the day, and we headed to the bar. standard. the coliseum just off charing cross road is not just any old theatre; it's london's largest and most luxurious family theatre. that was pretty evident, if the pristine rouge carpet and sparkly stairwell banisters were anything to go by. that, and they served dom perignon at the bar (we settled for the marlborough sav though).



the show started promptly at seven, and was - surprisingly, wholly in english. above the stage was a wee screen with the words being sung by the cast (helpful), which was actually really (helpful) helpful because... so much singing. until recently, le mis was the first musical i'd seen where not a single word was spoken. as in, every single word was sung. but at least sung in a sing-song-talky kind of way. not at the opera, oh no. almost each and every word was operatic. not exactly a bad thing, just... not helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the story (us)...

the show was surprisingly fun! i was kiiinda expecting it to be a bit naff, and fairly dry, but there were definitely parts of it that had us giggling. sadly though, there wasn't enough happening to hold my attention. the thing i love about musicals is the fast pace, the quick costume changes, the props and stage sets. at the opera, there's none of that. it was really hard work to stay entertained. so... we left at interval.


oh, i know, i know! such bad form! but let me just say that it's definitely not a reflection on the opera itself. it's not the show, it's me. i'm not made for opera. rebekah tells me i was getting shade thrown at me when i was rustling in my handbag trying to locate skittles. sir was not best pleased with the racket i was making, and even tutted at me under his breath! the curtain had barely even lifted! these opera types are just not my people.

"but erica, you said it was fun!" yes, yes i did. and i stand by that. but sometimes "fun" just isn't enough. it needed a big sequinned number. it was missing sequins. or maybe i'm just missing a bit of class... sigh.

tell me, my loyal, non-judgemental readers, was i wrong to walk out of the opera?
have you been before; what did you think?

12 comments:

  1. Oh no! I'm going to be seeing this on Saturday (comp tickets here too!) and will be dragging my distinctly opera virgin husband along with me. I have the benefit of having been raised by opera fanatics (yeah, they'd totally tut at Skittles) but have never actually managed to sit through an entire opera before so I'm a bit nervous!

    I'm distracting myself from my nervousness (I can totally imagine my husband doing the 'Can we go now? Can we go now? Can we go now?' dance during the interval as well as the 'Is this nearly over yet?' side eye in the second half) by panicking about what to wear! What did you wear? Was everyone else in tiaras and mink stoles or does that only happen in costume dramas? ;D



    (I've been reading your blog for AAAAAGES by the way but this is the first time I've felt emboldened to leave an actual comment! Hello!)

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  2. (firstly, HELLO! and THANK YOU for reading, and now commenting, because now I have had the chance to totally stalk out YOUR gorgeous blog!)


    the Skittle tutting was just about the tip of the ice berg, if I'm honest. and, as an opera virgin - not totally unlike your husband, I *think* he'll be ok. I hope he TRIES to like it, which is probably where I went wrong. I was forever comparing it to what it wasn't; a musical.


    I didn't know what to wear - I too imaged fur stoles and full-length gloves, and binoculars, and funnily enough, saw none of these. There were a few chaps in the boxes in tuxes, which... was a bit unnecessary for a Thursday night, but they looked fab. At the very least. I wore a nice, black and lacy dress, and a black cardi. because I never wear black, it seems 'dressy' to me. So there you go.


    wear a ball gown, it'll be worth it. X

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  3. I'd say if you were not into it and didn't feel you'd lose anything by leaving then it was the right thing to do. I've been to a few Operas and it reinforced my preference for ballet/dancing/musicals but I was there with a big Opera fan. I'd probably be doing a bit of glaring for the rustling though! Making noise and distracting from show it is a pet hate for me. It goes for the the theatre and cinema too :-)

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  4. Aw, thanks so much! Your blog is one of my all time favourites! :D


    My husband (I think I'll refer to him as 'Dave' from now on actually as saying 'My husband' in that austere way always makes me sound like one of those smug married bitches in Bridget Jones) is making much of the 'I like to try new things!' angle of the whole thing and has very bravely said that even if he doesn't like it, at least he'll have tried it.


    However, he really REALLY hates musicals. If asked about this, he usually mutters something about the media students he lived with at university making him watch Moulin Rouge repeatedly like some sort of hideous experiment (which to be fair, he ought to be cool with as he did psychology) which left him totally traumatised. He gets this awkward, shifty eyed look now if people randomly start singing around him and in fact we've had to abandon our Buffy marathon because he needs some time out to mentally brace himself for the upcoming Musical Episode.


    So yeah, I'm not massively optimistic about how the whole opera thing is going to pan out for him. ;)


    Oh I do hope there's some nattily attired men there when we go! I think your outfit sounds lovely - VERY Audrey Hepburn, which y'know, can NEVER go wrong in any situation. I pretty much always wear black, being a bit of a goth, so I was thinking I might GO WILD and wear some colour! I'm actually very pleased about having this opportunity to dress up because it means that after a bit of a drought, I will finally have a reasonably well put together outfit to post to Instagram! I don't have a ball gown alas but I DO have a selection of tiaras. Too much? ;) xx

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  5. I've been to see Figaro at my local theatre and I really loved it. ;)

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  6. This is my problem with opera, I love the idea but i is SO long!


    Maria xxx

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  7. so, so long. it was nice to go and *see* what all the fuss is about, but... not for me.

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  8. you're a more committed soul than I! x

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  9. hahah, oh gaaaahd, I had no idea it was even bothering people until it was too late! I have learned my lesson - promise!

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  10. very proud of Dave!

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  11. Didn't he do well! Poor guy. Apparently it was a massive improvement on the time that I made him go to see a musical about the Ipswich Strangler (yup, a true crime musical!) and he was even 'getting quite into it' by the end. Bless him.


    However, we then saw how much our seats were worth and he kind of fainted a bit before fulminating at length about the inaccessibility of culture etc etc so I don't think we'll be going back to the opera again any time soon. ;)

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  12. *wonders how much the tickets were*

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thank you for your comment, you lovely thing you.