I had the rare opportunity to go to the LA opera the other night and I’m so pleased I did. I’d heard that Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro was a crowd-pleaser, but I was still surprised by the generous portions of raunchy humor, physical comedy, catty remarks, and the anarchic glee that infused most scenes. (I was missing Project Runway that night, but I think I got a good dose of the same entertainment pleasures.) Perhaps most surprising to me were the carnivalesque coalitions of characters: unpredictable ad-hoc alliances among women, men, servants and aristocrats fuelled the comedy while suggesting that the social order is very easily subverted.
I’m not familiar with the opera world: my impression is that it’s being barely kept alive by the blue-hair demographic. But, when we went to a hipster club nearby for drinks before, we immediately bumped into some young opera patrons, and during intermission on the patio my friend noticed the unmistakable aroma of mariuana smoke. Well, well, well . . . perhaps this means that opera has found its 21st century audience? If so, maybe LA Opera fundraisers have a new target: supporters of Prop 19, California’s effort to legalize pot.