Monday, October 29, 2007

Enjoying Verdi's Rigoletto

I recently attended a phenomenal performance of Rigoletto by The Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) starring famed British Baritone Alan Opie and Israeli Soprano Chen Reiss (first photo). People came from near and far (including Munich and Poland) to enjoy this outstanding event.

Also, a younger generation of Brother and Sistas artists were represented in the cast as well including Bass-baritones Frank Mitchell & DeAndre Simmons and Mezzo-soprano Allison Sanders (second photo).

Many of you are already familiar with a few of this opera’s popular arias like “La donna e mobile” and “Caro nome.”

Rigoletto can be tough if it is not performed correctly. Most opera performances I attend are usually three hours long with several intermissions to give you an opportunity to stretch your limbs and grab some coffee. So, when an opera is horrible – it is worst than a Charlie Horse cramp as some people nod off and start snoring (a true story).

What was especially exciting for me is that I was able to enjoy Rigoletto with my ‘special friend’ (wink, wink). I treated him to premium seating as his birthday present since he expressed interest in attending the opera.

To make my friend's first time opera experience even more special, the Managing Director of OCP (who is a great buddy of mine) orchestrated the opportunity for us to meet the cast, provided a backstage tour of the set and stage, and then treated us to a divine dinner along with his partner.

My special friend is still raving about the evening weeks later. And, not only did he enjoy the performance, he is now eagerly looking forward to a repeat visit.

In case you are curious - my friend is very much your classic Brother – a “guy’s guy” who enjoys simple pleasures like good food, baseball, beer, and wine. He is not a part of the Black Socialite Set of our hometown nor is ‘Socialite-dom’ his aspiration.

But, he is willing to try out new things which is a breathe of fresh air.
Photo credit: Opera Company of Philadelphia