I Saw Sunday

Here’s a new meme: I Saw Sunday

So, what did you see this week?

One thing or a whole list! – Words or photos or both!

Share it here with us.

The Rules

1. Write your post on your blog and include a link back to I Saw Sunday.
2. Leave the link to your post in the Mr Linky widget so we can find you.
3. Leave a comment after linking so that I know you have been here.
4. Please be sure to visit the other participants and share what they saw.

Aida depicted on the Lyric's permanent curtain

I had a splendid week and saw so much.

First I’m still blown away by the production of Aida that I saw at the Lyric Opera. Such pageantry! Such voices! I also love the Lyric Opera House‘s interior. Beautiful Art Deco (above).

The last few days due to the warm weather, I’ve seen a dozen or so ducks, which is quite uncommon in this area in February.

I got to see my friend Yuki, whom I haven’t seen for a couple years. I also got a copy of her book Beyond the Mushroom Cloud. Yuki’s a religious studies professor and her niche is the spirituality of the bombing of Hiroshima, which she explores by examining speeches, writings and films about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I look forward to reading this book.

After brunch with Yuki, I went over to the Art Institute of Chicago where they have a lovely exhibit of Japanese prints from the 1960s and 70s.

“Slow down and take the time to really see. Take a moment to see what is going on around you right now, right where you are. You may be missing something wonderful.”
– J. Michael Thomas

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Aida

As I’ve come to expect, the Lyric Opera‘s Aida blew me away. Since signing up for the Lyric’s NExT program that offers $20 student discount tickets, I’ve discovered that I really like opera, at least some operas. Although all the NExT tickets were gone by the time, I bought my tickets, I felt the $55 tickets would be a wise purchase and they were.

My friend Maryann and I went on a Friday afternoon and first went to the pre-opera lecture. WFMT‘s Carl Grapentine, who’s got a sonorous voice, offered background that made the opera all the more meaningful. We learned that Verdi was rejected when he applied to the conservatory in Milan, which today is called Conservatorio di musica “Giuseppe Verdi” di Milano. Ha! Take that!

Aida is Verdi’s 26th opera and was commissioned by an Egyptian khedive (i.e. viceroy, i.e. a king’s representative). Grapentine explained Aida’s genesis and story, and I highly encourage audience members to attend the free pre-opera lecture which starts an hour before the curtain.

Briefly, Aida has a plot Aristotle would love as the characters are tied together in such a way that only tragedy can result. Ethiopia and Egypt are at war. Aida is an Ethiopian slave serving the Egyptian princess, Amneris. Both women love the same man, Radames, a strapping young Egyptian warrior. He loves Aida, but becomes engaged to Amneris, who senses her fiancé has eyes for someone else. Who?

As if this isn’t enough drama, Aida is the daughter of the Ethiopian king Amonasro, who’s been captured by Radames. Every one of the three main characters’ hearts are divided between loyalty, patriotism and true love.

No one’s going to walk off into the sunset and though as a modern viewer of stories in every media available, I get a steady diet of happy endings, I’m perfectly fine with this tragedy. I wish Hollywood trusted in the power of tragedy as the Greeks and Shakespeare’s peers did. We don’t always need things tied up with a bow at the end. Really.

A feast for the eyes and ears, Aida features masterful singing, spectacular sets, lavish costumes, and beautiful dancing. The English translations for the Italian lyrics are projected overhead so that even those, like us, in the nosebleed seats can follow the story easily.