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Thursday, September 23, 2010

L'amour est un oiseau rebelle.

11:24 pm CET

Class was the same as always (long and boring), and by the time it ended I was more than ready for a nap. I bought some groceries and walked up to the dorm, where (instead of studying) I rested for a few hours.

Not too much later Ada, Yoana, and I had to start getting ready for the opera. We got all dressed up and at five we were out the door. It didn't take too long to get there--the trams and metro move fairly quickly--and we ended up having plenty of time. The opera house is absolutely gorgeous, so we looked around the ground floor for a few minutes. After that, we trekked all the way up to the highest balcony to find our seats. We could see everything save for the far part of stage right, so it wasn't at all bad. I had forgotten to read the synopsis of Carmen, and my French is nowhere near good enough to understand all of the lyrics, so I tried my best and mostly relied on body language and context when I needed to figure out what was going on. I knew enough about the opera to catch on and follow without trouble, but it definitely would have been nice to know everything that was said. Surprisingly enough, I didn't find the Hungarian subtitles (surtitles? They are above the stage, after all...) the least bit distracting. Probably because I could only understand a few words here and there (like "and" and "love." There were lots of ands and loves).

The woman playing Carmen had a lovely voice; it was very strong and smooth and very much reminded me of Renée Fleming. I also really liked the woman who was playing Micaëla; her soprano was soft and clear, and her aria toward the end was heartrending. The men were good, too, but none of them really stood out for me. Except for one of the guys playing one of the smugglers, though only because he had a gigantic teddy bear that my roomies and I decided had to be filled with marijuana for him to schlep it around everywhere he went.

Once it was over, we hopped on the metro and then a tram to return home. The newer trams (either a six or a four) have this pre-recorded woman's voice that announces the next stops in Hungarian and English, and when the tram approaches Móricz Zsigmond körtér--the final station--the voice says in this terribly final tone "goodbye." It always sounds as though if we take one step off of the tram after she says it, we're all going to die; that's how ultimate it feels. What's hilarious, however, is that tonight on the tram, I saw that the Hungarians find it as funny and apocalyptic as we do: three 20-something Hungarian guys were talking to each other and they said the "goodbye" at the same time the voice did, and then one of them made a gesture to indicate an explosion, sound effects included.

Good to know we're not the only ones who find the tram recording a little morbidly amusing.

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