Joe and I have been workaholics lately. Family, work, charity, and race training have tied us down. We are always so busy. So when fellow blogger Camille mentioned that La Traviata was at the Academy of Vocal Arts, I could not turn that down. I knew it would be just the escape from reality that we needed.
The day of, however, turned out to be pure madness. It started early for me with an Orangetheory class, then I had a pretty hectic work day. It was one of our typical days for feeding the homeless, so Joe got started early smoking meat. Despite him getting up early, he would still end up behind schedule. He ended up having car trouble and being stranded for over two hours. He only beat me home by a few minutes. While he finished putting together the meals for our friend Dave to take on the streets, I put together his outfit, chose my shoes, then I finally got to do my uncooperative hair and makeup. I checked the time and canceled our dinner reservation. I had also RSVP’d for an event in the same area as dinner and the opera, but there was no way I’d be able to stop by like I anticipated.
It did not take me long to begin feeling discouraged about our date night. I wondered why, for once, we didn’t have to worry about the homeless, or why I couldn’t just skip a workout (too close to Broad Street, that’s why). I carried my angst in the car with me, as we parked at our marina an hour later than anticipated, which a grumbling stomach. By the time our Uber got us to Spruce Street, it was exactly 7, and the opera started at 7:30. On the corner was a pizza shop, with a glaring sign on the door that said “No Slices.” Guiseppe held the door open, and we went inside. We were assured it would only take 10 minutes for a pizza to cook. So we took a chance.
Our piping hot, thin crust veggie pizza went quickly as we hurried to devour it. With my mouth full, my date reached for my hand and says that he wished he could make me feel like Julia Roberts. He was referring to my favorite movie Pretty Woman, and what he pointed out that the opera in that movie was La Traviata. I did not know, but I was impressed that he did. I guess he actually was paying attention the hundreds of times I made him suffer through it. But it was a rare night for me to wear heels, so I totally felt like Vivian.
We slid into the Academy of Vocal Arts
at 7:25, and we arrived to quite a bit of commotion. People were still getting seated, so we were able to slow down. And not long into the show, I realized that the angst was worth it. I was able to dive right into the plot-the tale of Violetta, who proclaimed that she wanted to “perish in a whirlpool of voluptuousness.” All I could think was, “Right?” After that, I was hooked.
I glanced over occasionally at Guiseppe, and I noticed how engaged he was. He whispered to me about the orchestra, and he asked if Violetta gave Alfredo his flower yet. He already knew this opera. It was one he’d seen at 8 years old with his mother, who is now deceased. I relaxed even more, and regretted my annoyance. No matter how late we ran, we were on time for that mid-week escape.
Who would’ve thought that this opera from 1853 would have such a modern application. Violetta felt the pressure of being a perfect woman, despite having a not-so perfect past. Men judged her for it, which happens now, even though women are more empowered than ever.
I left that opera feeling empowered. Now, was I eager to go to work the next day? No, but we were both able to escape our draining routines. We were able to forget about home repairs, paying bills, and deadlines And we held hands more than we had in quite some time. I’m sure the tale of Violetta and Alfredo will make you feel the same. Before La Traviata leaves Philly, go check it out at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Booking information is available on their website