Celebrating an Anniversary in Style at the Metropolitan Opera’s Arabella


We used to go out and eat a great French meal on our anniversary. We no longer do this because a. it upsets our digestion b. it’s gotten very expensive and we are starting to think spending this much money on a meal is not appropriate these days and c. even a great meal doesn’t last as long as ART. So we usually try to find something we’d like to see and go to that to mark the day.

This year it was Richard Strauss’ Arabella at the Met. It’s one of the old Otto Schenk/Gunther Schneider-Siemssen versions from 1983–you know, the lavish sets and costumes leaving little to the imagination–the kind we love.

Image (Source: archivesmetoperafamily.org)

Surprisingly, this work, which at least on the surface sounds so much like Der Rosenkavalier, was written in 1933, 23 years later, and seems not to be the audience favorite Rosenkavalier is, perhaps because musically it is a denser, possibly more complicated work.  We like dense, however (think Brahms), and enjoyed it a lot.

The beautiful house welcomed us

Image

and the fine Met orchestra expanded to the max for the demanding score.

Image

We got the old thrill when the chandeliers rose

Image

and prepared to hear the piece.

The singers were grand, including two standouts, baritone Michael Volle and soprano Malin Bystrom, but really the whole cast was terrific. The setting was Vienna again, the period about the same, and artistically, we had no complaints.

We decided to highlight the occasion by having dessert during the first intermission at the Grand Tier Restaurant. So after a quick look at the rainy terrace

Image

and a glance at the familiar monumental red Chagall over the bar,

Image

we sat down in front of our pre-ordered souffles and tea. This is a nice thing to do especially as you are in company with the monumental blue (Rory thinks yellow) Chagall.

Image

Warning: even dessert here is pricy and once, as I may have mentioned, in the old days, when we had dinner and champagne before the opera to celebrate another anniversary, we both fell asleep during the next act of Rosenkavalier, but if your head is harder than ours, the venue is glorious. And if you want a “really big show,” for a special night, the opera can’t be beat.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s