No Phantoms in This Opera

I will admit, when I first heard early on in the semester that we would be attending an opera I was a little mortified. My only previous knowledge of the opera stemmed from those horrible tropes found on television shows or in movies. The funny scenes that feature woman wearing a viking hat singing in an incredibly high pitched octave, and then, for whatever reason, breaking glass. Yes, I did know it was not going to be anything remotely like that, but even when presented as a joke, it is not a pretty picture of the opera. And I hate to admit it, but the scenario had me terribly convinced.

Despite my previous misgivings about the opera, once the day arrived I was very excited about the privilege we had of attending Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff at the world-renowned Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Immediately upon entering the halls of the ornate opera house, the nerves kicked in. Questions about whether or not I was feeling a false sense of excitement began to rush into my head, images of me being confused or embarrassingly falling asleep surged into my mind. I did not in any way want to come off at all rude or disinterested, but what if the weight of this incredibly long day decided to kick in at some point during this 3 and a half hour show? What if I did not understand what was going on? Once I was waiting alone in the plush red brocade box, my doubt and insecurities about the show only grew. Shortly before the show began, realizing that I had the box to myself, I moved up to enjoy a better view of the show. I am so glad I did. The second the red velvet curtains parted, all the nerves went away. The actors’ mesmerizing voices, the unique 1950s inspired setting and costumes, the hilarious plot, everything about the show blended together so perfectly. I did not even have to understand the words in the songs they were singing, their emotions resonated beyond that.

The view of La Scala from my seat

The view of La Scala from my seat

I am so grateful for the numerous opportunities this program has created to allow the rest of the girls and me to experience and embrace the Italian culture. Prior to this semester, I would have never considered the idea of attending an opera. Falstaff, to me, was a perfect introduction to the art and I can now say with full confidence that I do love the opera.


Ana Roman