People like to pretend that seasons and weather have no impact on our modern, urban lives. Despite climate-controlled offices where America indulges its addiction to workaholism and despite the encroachment of year-round schooling, that attitude is completely false.
In summer, camping, bike rides, and music festivals replace weekend getaways, skiing, and theater seasons. We indulge in light-colored beer and smores, and suffer sunburns instead of indulging in fancy cocktails and rich sauces and suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.
All of which goes to explain why the first opera of the season always catches me off guard. “The season,” is a term that goes all the way back to the days when people threw suppers and balls and coming out parties were reserved for marriageable brides. As the focus of “the season” has shifted from exclusive social events to more widely accessible cultural ones, so have the dates, so that for all my life, Seasons have roughly corresponded to the school year.
As strapped as arts organizations are, who could risk a performance in the summertime when weather is good and everyone wants to be outside?
Well, apparently Seattle Opera. Their season always starts in August, when the kids are still out of school and the sun doesn’t set until after intermission. But somehow, I can never wrap my head around this simple calendrical fact, and this year, I scheduled a camping trip for the weekend when press tickets are available to the opera’s first production.
I’m not always offered press to the opera. Sometimes I just don’t get to go. But Seattle Opera is opening this season with The Wicked Adventures of Count Ory. The opera is by Gioachino Rossini, better known for Barber of Seville and one of my favorite opera composers. The protagonist’s objective is access to a sizable wine cellar and the story’s pivots on a menage a trois. The production is inspired by Terry Gilliam’s animations for Monty Python.
Do I need to tell you that I bought a ticket? There is no way I’m going to miss this just because I spent all my money in Iceland this summer and can’t keep track of what month I’m in. Especially when Seattle Opera’s website has a statement like this:
Seattle Opera believes in opera for all. There are many ways to attend for less, including $25 tickets for every performance; up to 40% off with season ticket packages; special pricing for patrons age 21-39; and student, senior, military, teen, and group discounts.
I am not eligible for the other options, but I found a $25 ticket at the Wednesday night performance. The seats are really only a few feet further from the center than the ones I buy when I’m flush (my idea of having money is not quite up to industry standard). I will miss a few performers I’ve enjoyed in the past (Lawrence Brownlee, Sarah Coburn) but in exchange I’ll be seeing almost an entire cast of Seattle Opera debuts.
It is unseasonably opera in here, isn’t it?