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#49. I've seen three operas performed at 'The Met' in New York City.

Just don't ask me to name them or anything. Oh, wait, no -- one was called La Traviata. Or La Travolta, or La Tortellini, or something like that. Yeah, let's go back to not asking me, after all.

My wife worked at this one place in Boston for three years. And every year, a group of them would get together and ante up money to buy two season passes to the Met. The tickets would come back, and be stuck in a hat or a bowl or something, and everyone would fish out a random pair of tickets for the year. (Well, okay, I think the girl who actually put the ginormous charge on her card got to pick for real, but the rest of us were at the mercy of fate. Apparently, willingness to put yourself deep in debt has its privileges.)

So, three times we got tickets, and three times we trekked down to Manhattan, and saw a show. Luckily, we had friends living in the city, so we had a convenient place to crash-for-no-cash for the night. Not a lot of time for sight-seeing or anything, but we didn't get mugged, either, so I'd call the trips a wash, overall.

And the operas? Well, the Met is impressive, I have to admit. And it's kind of fun to watch all the people parading around in their monkey suits and monkey ties, with their little monkey wives wearing their monkey tiaras and carrying their monkey Gucci purses around. Okay, so that's exaggerating a little bit -- most people just go in a nice suit or dress. But everything's more interesting with monkeys, now , isn't it?

Anyway, I don't remember a whole lot about the shows, I'm afraid. One was about a hooker, or a madam of some kind, who shacks up with a well-to-do kid, and then... um, something. The guy's dad gets pissed, I think, and tells her off. Or something. I don't know; it was all in Italian. I may have fallen asleep at some point.

And then there was another one about a general of some kind. Somebody I'd heard of, from way back in history, but the guy's name didn't quite sound right, because it was in Italian, too. Anyway, there's something about this guy's daughter -- she falls in love with a guy in the town they're attacking, or something equally unlikely -- and at the end, they reveal that some of the people involved are related, and a bunch of them die, and kill themselves, and all the other opera crap you're probably used to. It was very dramatic and heartstring-tugging, I'm sure. Or would have been, if I could have kept straight which fat lady was which. I guess I'm not very good at opera.

The nice thing is that they have this little LED screen (or is it LCD? I can never remember...) in front of each seat that shows the English translation of whatever the people onstage are bellowing on about. So at least you can follow the plot, and -- if you've read the program -- figure out how much longer it'll be until the intermission, when you can go get a damned drink. So that makes it a bit better. It's a little like watching one of those over-the-top soap operas on the Spanish-language channel, with English subtitles to tell you why Guillermo is screaming at Juanita, or who's the real father of Maria's baby. Only at the Met, somebody always dies at the end, and takes twenty minutes to explain why. It's Shakespeare with soundtracks. Really, you should try it once. And I do mean once. When you've seen one fat lady belt out a high C, you've seen 'em all. Trust me.

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