My previous post was full of excitement that we were seeing La Boheme in Portland on Sunday. The opera was marvelous! It was so good to be back, and we won't let years pass again before our next opera. What a cast, totally deserving of the standing ovation at the end. The stage sets were wonderful and our box seats gave us a perfect vantage point to fully appreciate the artistic touches that helped to sweep us into another world. It was a full house which both surprised and pleased me, given the economy - which has not improved in Oregon. I had a sense that people are not about to let The Arts take it in the chops if they can in any way prevent it.
Yes, it is an emotional opera.....sad and soaring. But what brought me to tears was someone we passed on our way out of the box seat section when the production was over. Sitting just inside the box section exit, waiting for the crowd to clear some before leaving via elevator and not stairway as most of us were, was the most beautiful little girl in a powder blue dress. She was maybe eight years old, but had the composure of an old soul. Her pretty dark brown hair was slightly curled and I think I remember a light blue headband. I did not look to see the adult(s) with her because there was such a glow about her I didn't want to alter my focus as we moved along at a fair pace with the crowd. She had such poise and child-joy. It was clear to me that she had loved La Boheme, most likely loves opera, quite possibly knows more about it than many adults there that afternoon. She was fully present. Not exchanging glances with any of us walking by her wheelchair, her soft eyes remained fixed on the stage.
painting: Marie-Therese Gaillard by Mary Cassatt, 1894
* "An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house" - Maria Callas