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A Night at the Opera ... and a Thai Restaurant

March 18, 2013 - Phyllis Sigal
I was hoping to be able to report that, previously having been anti-opera and anti-Thai food, my life was changed on Saturday night.

Well, one of two ain't bad, as they say.

I'm still not a fan of Thai food.

But opera is my new favorite thing!

I had only seen two operas prior to Saturday's performance of "Madame Butterfly" presented by the Pittsburgh Opera — "La Boheme" at a former palace in Venice and another (it actually may have been "Madame Butterfly") in Pittsburgh years ago, when I was in college.

My mom always has loved opera. She used to listen to the Metropolitan Opera broadcast every Saturday afternoon, and she has a beautiful singing voice. Maybe I didn't like opera because she liked it so much. You know how kids are!

When I heard the word opera, all I could think of was a screechy soprano.

Boy, was I wrong.

Opera is gorgeous. It is rich. It is exquisite.

Opera is about the drama, the costumes, the characters as much as it is about the singing.

Opera is emotional. Whether it was the outcome of the story or the sheer beauty of the experience, I certainly was in tears as the curtain fell.

We were guests of Wheeling residents Jay Frey and Michael Hires for the opening night performance of "Madame Butterfly." A real opera aficionado, Jay has been a member of the Pittsburgh Opera board of directors for about three years. He is doing what all good board members should: he's acting as an ambassador for the opera.

He certainly has succeeded in getting a couple of new people on board! Already, we're considering making the opera our "season" for next year. This year, it was the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

We weren't the only Wheelingites in attendance. We ran into Lou and Charlotte Khourey of Wheeling and Bill and Esmeralda Kaestner of Triadelphia at the cast party following the opening night performance.

The Khoureys have been season ticket holders for about 20 years. Lou said he first saw "La Boheme" when he was about 24 years old. It was the combination of the music and the emotion that struck him, he said. "Opera is a unique art form ... there's nothing like it."

I'm sorry it's taken me all these years to realize what "La Boheme" showed Lou. I'm already looking forward to my next night at the opera. But Thai food, sadly, is still at the bottom of my ethnic food favorites.

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