As I have mentioned before, a friend has two tickets for every production of the Canadian Opera Company and also - as a season ticket holder - he has the privilege of exchanging tickets whenever another commitment interferes with his attending a specific performance. Last evening was the opening night for Verdi's "Falstaff" and - as Ian has another commitment on the his usual opera night - our seats were not the usual ones.
Ian's regular seats are in the front row of the second tier. I have been accompanying him to the opera for a number of years now and he has had to change the seats on other occasions. Usually the seats that were offered to him were on the right hand side of that tier - a little further from the stage but not at all awkward. The seats last evening were awkward - at least for me they were!
The balcony tiers extend on each side right up to the stage curtain and that was where these seats were located. Nor did we sit side-by-side but he in front and my seat initially was behind a light pole. I could see past that pole and had a view of all of the stage but not in a direct line. If there was any action to the extreme right I would have to lean to my left to see around the pole which - from my perspective - meant that I would have to lean over some of the other patrons who were seated on the main floor and below me. That was well outside my comfort level. However - as the curtain was rising - Ian reappeared to say that the person whose seat was in front of his (on the other side of the light pole) was a 'no show' so I would be able to occupy that seat. I was greatly relieved!
The first ten or so seats out from the curtain were singles so - instead of sitting beside Ian I was seated in front of him. In front of me was a young married couple (the husband first and then the wife) and I could tell by her outfit that they were Muslims. As the vast majority of the patrons seen at the opera are Caucasian, Black or Oriental this surprised me. Did they enjoy the madcap performance? They most certainly did - as did we and all the other patrons seated near us.
black is a member of the Canadian Opera Company so he has permission to take his guests into the Members Lounge before the performance and during the intermissions. A few times in the past I have encountered people whom I knew in that lounge - a former neighbor, other people whom I know about the city - as well as the hematologist that I had to see regularly over a number of months. That man has a delightful sense of humor and his wife is a delight as well. Since it is the Opera I always wear my suit and tie but black always wears leather pants, a leather vest with a black t-shirt underneath and knee high black riding boots. To say that he receives startled looks from other patrons is an understatement!
Both of us are conversationalists so we enjoy each others company - especially while we are enjoying our dinner in a Jewish 'deli' which is located in the neighboring hotel.
Always I have been an inveterate 'people watcher' so I notice many of the other patrons. Occasionally I see somebody I know but - usually - everybody else is a complete stranger to me.
For any uninitiated readers, "Falstaff" is a 'take off' on Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor" and it is a hoot! Many people who are alive today consider the 21st Century as a time of 'loose morals' but society today cannot hold a candle to Shakespeare's time with wife swapping (husband swapping too!) and all sorts of other 'immoral shenanigans' occurring. One laugh followed upon the heels of another!