"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The streets of Miami Beach are swarming with pale, young people with severe haircuts, wild clothes, and most carrying a case of CD's. Winter Music Conference 2009 has begun and, to the relief of all, they are spending big; perhaps the music industry is one of the sectors less affected by the times. But, we began WMC in a different manner by attending The Florida Grand Opera's presentation of The Marriage of Figaro.
Mr. Astor's friend, Barry, contributes much to the opera house and--with the opening of Marriage occurring three nights ago--managed to arrange three seats in the center box on the grand tier normally occupied by the major donors on opening night. The presentation got mixed reviews (and there were some sighs from what I call Opera Queens sitting behind us) but--as I told Leopoldo before leaving the house--"It's Mozart; it's got to be entertaining.", and it was. In fact, Marriage always struck me as a sort of 200-year-old I Love Lucy episode; and, with a story line concerned with confused affection, infidelity, social posturing, and a sprinkling of cross-dressing, it was so South Beach. Three and a half hours downtown, though, is enough for me.
The poor opera house was dogged by construction delays and cost over-runs and, has been struggling ever since it opened. It has never helped, either, that the fourth building, the parking garage, was never built in a section of downtown notorious for little parking. It still looked good, though.

Most of all, I was pleasantly surprised to find the house at 80% capacity; not bad, given the conditions the town is in.
Leopoldo and I recalled to Barry that we had almost met at the opening night of Aida (another long opera that made me wishing, "Please just send in the elephants..."). During intermission, Leo was at the railing above the main floor on which I was standing with Ditmar and his parents. I was talking with a woman in a stunning peacock print gown (there are still people who make an effort here) when Mr. Fashion spotted her, and then me. Little did he know that just a few months later I would literally run into him during one of his rare visits to South Beach. I've never let go.
And, if you ever get bored, you can look up at the ceiling and imagine what Betty and Barney Hill saw.


At 12:59 PM, Blogger countess von Cartier said...

What a great story about you Mr. Astor. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger "the" Mrs. Astor said...

Truth is strange as fiction.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Ed Grow said...

Yay for Nozze! For centuries it lay underperformed, until the beginning of the 20th when we recognized it for the masterwork it is.

The opening gag: Figaro measuring their wedding bed while Suzanna looks on unperturbed is lost on most nowadays.

Kisses and love to your Mr. Man and you.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Tosca15 said...

The image of you and your lovely husband at the opera gives me chills up and down my spine.

I took Penny to see her first, "Lakme," this month. She loved!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger "the" Mrs. Astor said...

I'm so sorry to have missed Lakme'; the music is so haunting.


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