Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star
Weeks turn into years. How quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas
We left home early, in hope that with enough time, we could keep slightly ahead of the storm and allow time to treat Maria Elena to a Valentine's dinner before the opera. That dinner turned out to be less than I'd planned. Again, I'll blame it on the interference of weather. It amounting to simply grazing and noshing over a heaping mound of first-rate nachos with Shock Top beer chasers at a place I'll let you in on, Strange Brew. I'd brought along plenty of tissues, for while romantic in its theme, I knew it wasa moving love story ending in classic tragedy. I even included one on Mare's Valentine card that I presented to her as we ate. Secretly, I suspected that I'd also need some, lots in fact, in anticipation of being snared in a mood of compassion and pity for Mimi and Rodolfo, this memorably sad tale culminating in an emotive death aria.
In the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) woos Loretta Castorini (Cher) by taking her to La Bohème at ‘the Met’. I tried a similar maneuver during a windy snowstorm by taking my Valentine to the Palace Theater in Manchester, New Hampshire! Everything about it had been memorable from the stormy weather to the multiple encores. Just as tears had washed Cher's cheeks, there were more than a few tearful eyes, mine included, as we stood to applaud in a crescendo of claps through multiple curtain calls - apparently even Puccini himself cried after composing the final scene of La Bohème. Though fundamentally touching, my inner critic, what there is of it, felt shortchanged, somewhat disappointed, only because this La Bohème had not been performed by its principle players. It nagged at my 'what might have been' imagination and only gave me reason to want to see it again. Ours had become an experience in the past tense in that we'd now, at least literally, "seen Pareé" and experienced classical opera for ourselves. The Palace had come a long way since its early burlesque days, while for Maria Elena and I our journey of discovery had only begun. In whetting our appetites, we'd succeeded in broadened our world view, enough reason to want to return. Like the motto of the US Postal Service, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds", we had been tested and unlike many others, had filled our 'appointed' seats that night despite the weather. As Mimi had expressed, we too wait for the thaw of Spring and like Rodolfo, as I patiently wait, Io scrivo (I write). The New England winter aside, we can take warming comfort in the thought that stillahead for us, beyond the pains of young love in an attic, yet lay the emotional awakenings of an exotic Aida, a warring Tosca, the court jester Rigoletto, the wistfully loneliness of Madame Butterfly and many, many, more. Bravo! Brava!