Opera for the Hoi Polloi

Today was the big day, the day that the general public got their first chance to experience the accoustic qualities of the new Opera House as they enjoyed the sounds and swells of a gala concert. Of course, if like myself, you didn't have $150 to lay out for a seat, you could share in the experience across the street, at Nathan Phillips Square.

Unfortunately, the subtleties of a finely crafted opera house do tend to get lost when transposed onto an open air stage, making the experience lacklustre as a whole. Despite this (and the inability to reliably know what it sounded like indoors) the singing was top notch. One singer even managed to hit a Super C - which, according to my opera singer companion for the evening, is a note that is extremely rare and impressive to be able to hit.

Perhaps the high point of the night was a gift from nature. Just before the sun had set, a light rain began to fall. This caused a full-arc rainbow to appear to the south, stretching from the TD tower until the Eaton Centre. Were I a man to paraphrase liberally from religious texts, I might have likened this rainbow appearing at the dawn of the end of a quarter century of struggle for an opera house, to the rainbow that appeared before Noah after the flood. In both cases they promised better things to come. Of course, I'm not such a man, so I'll leave it to my readers to make their own assumptions.

In the end though, it was an enjoyable, if slightly muted evening. But then again, in how many other places can one listen to the beauteous notes of some of the world's greatest singers while fighting off seagulls and eating a beef sausage?

Only in Toronto.


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