Last time I attended a ballet performance at Opéra Garnier, I made sure to register for their newsletter (which is so unlike me) and such a wise decision on my part that was! As a spectator aged under 26 years, I was offered a major discount on the most expensive seats at Opéra Bastille, which I hadn't been to before, just a day prior to the booked evening. I ended up getting 80% off the usual price for a seat just a few rows before the stage.
As I really wanted to cross seeing an opera off my Parisian bucket list, I bought my tickets within minutes of getting notified - compared to other types of dramatic performances, the opera's the most exclusive one to attend. I was already content with myself as I was processing my 35€ purchase until I actually started paying attention to what I was booking...
Lights dimmed, loud applause darted towards the lifting curtain - once, at the beginning of the show, and a second time, after the entreacte. Each time, though, a different setting was revealed - we were seeing not a single one, but two operas in one evening!
The first performance was Maurice Ravel's L'heure Espagnole. The stage setup was beautifully made, featuring allusions to Spain (the bull reminded me of Picasso's Guernica). Lots of ticking clocks of all sizes, shapes and colors moved up and down the walls. The story was incredibly entertaining!
The pause for a cocktail was followed by an introduction to Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi - a masterpiece inspired by true events mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. The setting was that of a mansion at the backdrop of 13-th century Florence.
Needless to say, the cast's emotionally charged performance made for an unforgettable experience, and the numerous curtain calls were a testament to their effort. It was particularly moving to hear O mio babbino caro - you could tell that the audience was holding their breath for those 3 minutes. I left that hall moved and thankful!