I went to my first Opera recently. We saw La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment). Originally set during the Napoleonic Wars, it tells the story of a regiment of soldiers who adopt a young girl who then grows up among their ranks. The San Diego Opera moved the story to World War II, so the idea that a girl would spend so many years with a group of soldiers doesn’t really fly, but as the review in the paper said: don’t think about it too much. I didn’t. Honestly, what I was thinking through most of the opera was this: I’m so flipping bored. I wonder what time Ghirardelli Chocolate closes?
I know, I know, it’s terrible. Horribly disrespectful. I can appreciate, on a technical level, what the performers accomplished. But I don’t enjoy the music. Nor did I love the story. It’s not that I don’t love a good musical or a star-crossed lovers story. This one just didn’t work for me.
Plus, I felt like I’d stepped into an alternative universe. One where a man backs his Maserati up at full speed with his nose in the air, not even bothering to glance at you because he knows you’ll get out of his oh-so-important way. Where big-breasted but otherwise skeletal young women wear five figure gowns and wobble ever-so-delicately on their sparkly heels, clinging to the arms of their white-haired husbands. Where people go to see and be seen; to have their photos taken for the society page of the newspaper.
“Where are we? Who are these people?” I kept asking my husband.
He was trying to figure out what the performers were saying while I tried to not look at his watch to see how much time had passed since the last time I looked at his watch.
“I can’t understand anything they’re saying. Their French is killing me,” he mumbled.
Yeah. I don’t think we’ll become season ticket holders. I’ve always wanted to experience an opera. Now I have. Check.
Instead I think I’ll stick to the kind of opera I love: Opera Café and Patisserie. Where they serve their namesake dessert: Opera, a layered almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup and layered with ganache and buttercream then covered in chocolate.
The café is located in a strip mall in Sorrento Valley; not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find a gem of a restaurant like this. It’s my favorite place to meet my husband for lunch. The preceding conversation usually goes something like this:
“Hey, babe, can I come up and meet you for lunch?”
“Sure. Do you want to try a different restaurant this time?”
“What? No! Why would you even say that?”
Gentle smile. “So are you coming to see me or are you coming because of Opera?”
Pause. “You, of course, honey.”
And this (because no blog is complete without food photos):
That’s an Opera where I can happily cheer, “Encore!”