Monday, November 17, 2008

Forcing Culture on People Not Quite Ready for It

So this weekend the Mrs. and I started off our opera season tickets with a traditional staging of The Marriage of Figaro.

The Marriage of Figaro is a pretty funny opera about everyone trying to sleep with everyone else, and everyone getting jealous because they secretly suspect everyone is actually sleeping with everyone else.

There is a bunch of nonsense about Prima Nocte, aka the Lord of the Manor getting to sleep with his servant's wives on their wedding night (portrayed in a very unfunny manner in Braveheart as well as in the life of Genghis Kahn). Anyway, this is a very serious and horrible thing that happened throughout Western Civilization, but when Mozart handles it, it proves to be pretty funny.

Plus there is this almost-incest plot point that is very funny when you watch it, but really frightening when you try to describe it to people later on in your blog. So I shall not mention it.

Anyhoo, at our opera there was, I kid you not, a Girl Scout troop going on a field trip to the opera. And during the three intermissions, the Troop leaders had the uncomfortable job of explaining to the young ladies the great culture they just witnessed.

Being the horrible eavesdropper I am, I kept sneaking out to listen to conversations like this.

"Why did his mom want to marry him?"

"Oh, she didn't really want to marry him."


"Weren't the dresses beautiful? And when she sang that song, wasn't her voice pretty?"

"But what about the mom-"

"It was all a big misunderstanding. And that is why some people laughed."

"I don't understa-"

"I think the dresses in the next act will be even prettier. Don't you think?"

"I guess."

Normally, this is where I butt in and set the record straight, but the poor troop leader was having enough problems without me providing an interpretation of the performance that did not focus on costume design.

Ah, Western Civilization, you have presented yet another great challenge to future generations. Thank heavens we weren't watching Lucia di Lammermoor which features people hanging their... ah... reddish-stained bedsheets outside their windows on their wedding nights, proving that the young lady was indeed virginal. I would hate to explain that great cultural milestone to a group of underage girls. ("Wasn't her bloody dress... pretty?")

For more about the rich cultural heritage of Prima Nocte you can read about it here.

Or listen to this:


R* said...

I'm sorry, that's just funny. I know I should be more sensitive to the poor troop leader's little predicament, but really? seriously? couldn't she have asked her friend google for a little bit of info about the plot before running out and getting 'em cultured 'n stuff?

Cyber D said...

Dude, "Wasn't her bloody dress pretty?" was the last question you asked me after lunch the other day... that's so funny!

Churlita said...