Friday, July 23, 2010

Don Giovanni at Boboli Gardens

Tonight I treated myself to see Mozart's Don Giovanni, which was performed at the stunning Boboli Gardens, under an almost full moon. I knew from last year's performance of Aida, that the best seats get sold out right away, and so I purchased my seat well in advance and was fortunate to get the seat of my choice.

As the production lights started to dim under the summer's evening sky signaling that the opera was about to begin, the audience gradually quieted down as the orchestra fine-tuned their instruments for one last time before the prelude.

I always love these last few mystical minutes before an opera begins. It is a time of transition between reality and fantasy. One becomes anesthesized while gradually disconecting from the immediate world. The audience slowly stops socializing and chatting, everyone settles down, the violins play odd notes, creating a mystical and ethereal mood as everyone settles into a state of suspended animation. After a minute or so there is a dead silence. It is the calm before the storm. Everyone's eyes are glued to the orchestra pit, anticipating the conductor's entrance. We are no longer "here now" but floating somewhere in a spiritual dimension outside of the body. A minute more of dead silence. You can hear a pin drop, but underneath you can feel the energy about to explode under the skin of every spectator awaiting the first note of music. And then the passion begins.

Experiencing these special moments under the backdrop of the Boboli Gardens is sacred. But living in Florence seems to be filled with these chilling experiences all the time. If I had the time to write about each one of them, I would be writing around the clock.

It was an excellent performance. Learning and appreciating the opera was a part of my early upbringing, and so I've loved it all my life. But being here, living here in Florence and being able to hop on my city bike in a summer dress and pretty heels on a summer's eve, to pedal a few minutes to Boboli to enjoy such a fine production among such a fashionable and animated Florentine audience gives me just another reason to feel fortunate and happy to have found a new life here.