Pammie's View at the Opera
The view from my box seat at the Vienna State Opera. Note the black and white thing to the right is the stage curtain, which is a reverse image of the U shaped theatre. Note there is no view of the actual stage floor itself, as you can tell I am very near the top of the theatre.
On my last night in Vienna (March, 2002) I went to the State Opera. I was easily the most underdressed person there, so as soon as I got in the door I yanked off my bright red polar plus beanie and nuclear blue jacket, so I was in black turtleneck and dark pants, hopefully not too dirty. I ascended the grand staircase, found the door to my box seat, stepped into the foyer where we hang our fur coats, but decided to keep my polar plus with me...you never know what sort they let in opera boxe seats these days.
I entered the box itself, which contained seven wooden chairs. I was entranced by the view out the front of the box, which was across to rows of the gilded box seats opposite, and red velvet drapery. Our box had enough room for 9 seats in rows of three, but there were only seven seats, mine was in the last seat, to the right hand side, with the stage itself to the right. I sat down in my seat and looked straight ahead, and realised I was still looking straight out at the box seats opposite. No stage.
I try to find the stage and discover that I can see a wee sliver of it to the extreme bottom right hand side. About 80% of my field of vision is the box seats opposite, about 10% is a narrow sliver of the upper part of the stage curtains, 9.5 % is a view of the back of the other people's heads, and about 0.5 % is the actual stage itself, in the far extreme left hand corner that no one would ever stand in. My mind is churning with thoughts along the lines of...33 naffen bucks to come to the Vienna State Opera and not even be able to see the stage...Geez, you never think to ask the important questions when you're buying tickets, like, will I be able to bloody see anything...
This old dear in front of me tells me there is a little pop up electronic screen on the wall of the box that does the transcript of the words in English and German. I say thanks, and continue in my thoughts...'cuz I ain't gunna be seeing anything else but the back of yer thinnen hair-do, lady. So when the opera starts up, I can just barely see about 8 percent of the stage if I lean my face into the guy to my left, and breathe down the neck of the lady in front of me. Only the smallest shred of decency has restrained these guys from putting a further two chairs in the space to the right of me, which would have absolutely no view at all.
I think, chill baby, just sit back and relax and listen to the music. After a few minutes I can't help but think... well, I could have bought 2 naffen CDs for this price and listened to it over and over and over again...chill, chill, it's live...then after a while I’m thinking, ya know, a 200 year old opera by Wagner called Parsifal is perhaps not ringing big bells of recognition with everyone for a reason. So after enduring an hour and forty five minutes, I naff off at half time.
I did buy the little synopsis so I would know what was going on, plus it gave me something to look at. Apparently this Joseph of Arimathea, and may I digress here a moment, this is the same fellah whose grave I wanted to see in Glastonbury Abbey in England, when I visited in November with Evert, not knowing the slightest thing about him (Joseph, I knew Evert)...after driving for miles to get to the Abbey, and pulling off the stunt reverse parking move of all time in front of numerous amused witnesses, involving perhaps jumping a curb and maybe getting a little too close to a shop window, and presenting myself at the front door of the Abbey, the caretaker says I can’t go in because it closes in a half an hour. I’m stunned. He says come back tomorrow. I say, man I came all the way from Tanzania to see the Abbey, and I’m not going to be here tomorrow. I’m thinking, dude, I can do your church, your gift shop, go to the bathroom, and unpark my car in 20 minutes, just watch, but I’m so annoyed that all I do is skulk away and do a bit of inward seething. Anyway, this Joseph of Arimathea was present at the crucifixion of Jesus, and apparently he travels about with Jesus' dinner set, because he caught the blood from the wound in Jesus' side while Jesus was on the cross, with the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. This cup of blood and the sword wot poked Jesus were collected and used to start up some brotherhood of dudes who could do great deeds of happiness if they drank this blood. Sounds like some sort of vampire cult. Dunno if this is all supposed to be real or not, anyway this cup is the Grail. I had always wondered what the Grail actually was, I always thought, grail, rail, must be some sort of magic fence spike or somefin. Anyway in the opera there is this big fight over some magic garden, I lose track of the story, and I’m more obsessed with the whole rip off scene with no view of the stage. Thus endeth my four days in Vienna. Hopped an early morning train to Prague, where I am now, but will save that story for later. (Note: I was totally confused here, because Joseph of Arimathea is not buried at Glastonbury, it is King Arthur who is rumoured to be buried there, Joseph of Arimathea was just visiting, with the Holy Grail).