Opening night for Verdi's La Traviata
ran as smoothly as the City Opera House manager designed it. He allotted a certain number of complimentary tickets to be distributed by high-performing members of his production. Those lucky enough
to receive these tickets were placed on a special guest list and personally escorted by the house staff to their box seats. The manager himself claimed a seat in Box 5, which was otherwise empty.
Tonight, the crowd glittered and shone brightly under the warm glow of the opera house. Attending the opera was as much about high art as it was about being seen. With every playbill this night came an invitation
to the opening night celebration following after the performance. There, all would get their fill of the glamor brought out by opening night.
When the lights in the auditorium dimmed, so too did the chatter. Then began the orchestra, casting its spell with rich, full-bodied music. The pianist, one Hannibal Lecter, would be remembered by musical types for his mastery. But there was limelight enough for others, as well. The production's Violetta, Ms. Christine Daeé, sang soprano with a curious and heady combination of seduction and fresh youth, while the Flora of the opera, Ms. Enigma, carried the darker mezzo-soprano with an expert's touch. And when the lights came up, it was to the roar of an audience recognizing the triumph it just witnessed.
Once the curtain calls were done, the crowd began filtering down the staircase
and into the Grand Foyer
, where the night was just beginning. The wine flowed; the violins hummed -- a triumph indeed.