Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tea after the opera

I took my mother to the opera for her birthday.  We saw the Marriage of Figaro at the Lyric Opera and stayed the night in downtown Chicago.

Our hotel was quite conveniently within a block of the opera.

Our seats were in "Upper Balcony 2".  We were in the far back of that top balcony.

We climbed 6 flights of stairs.  That's what you get for cheap tickets. If you look closely, you can see my mother (waving a program) in the fifth row from the back

Most of my doubts about the opera experience were laid to rest once Figaro walked onto the sumptuously decorated stage.  I say most because there were times during the 4 hours of the performance when it was a struggle to maintain a willing suspension of disbelief (which is something I gladly embrace).  You don't see the Marriage of Figaro for the plot (which is ridiculously silly).

The singing was a thrill to listen to, even if they were singing about stupid things like whether or not Cherubino was hiding in the closet.  The contrast of such beautiful singing with the mundane English translations displayed at the top of the stage was amusing.  Such juxtapositions are right up my alley, and I add them to my treasury of amusing things.

You certainly gain a new appreciation for your lungs.

While we're on the topic of lung capacity, Mom graciously kept me company as we explored the Wicker Park neighborhood.  (J. and I also explored this neighborhood this past January).  There were some interesting shops: Renegade Handmade, Nina, Paper Doll.  It's a good place for people-watching, too.  We passed one fellow with a floppy metro-mohawk, shirtless under a tailored tuxedo jacket over a pair of billowing jodphurs constructed out of a flimsy silver fabric.  It was a cold, misty day and I was impressed at such dedication to fashion.

After this jaunt, we returned to downtown Chicago via the "L" for afternoon tea at the Russian Tea House.

We got their house special, "Highland Tay," which was quite good.

 The food was delicious, though we couldn't finish the sweets.  As you can see from the picture above, the sheer quantity of pastries is overwhelming.

It was a thoroughly excellent way to end a trip to Chicago.  Happy birthday, Mom!

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