Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Am the Very Model of . . . What I Wore to the Opera!


Popping my head up again from my marking to bring you a What I Wore to the Opera post.  And, if you're anywhere near Vancouver, to tell you why you should consider giving yourself a treat and picking up tickets to the last performances (tonight, Saturday, and Sunday).

I was raised on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas -- at least, my mother regularly borrowed records of them from our very well-stocked library, along with the classical symphonies and operas she insisted her children must prefer. These operettas, with lively memorable tunes and lyrics, we had to concede -- once my mother had parsed them for us, pointing out the silliness of the puns, the allusions she found hilarious, the tongue-tripping richness of rhyme -- were indeed funny. Not Warner Bros. cartoons funny, but compared to that Verdi she'd played us the week before? Pretty damn side-splitting.

Although my parents creatively squeezed the budget of a very large family to include opera tickets for their "date nights" by the time I was in my early double-digits, I doubt they would often have seen the VOA stage any G&S. I do vaguely remember watching some amateur performances through the years -- Pinafore, once, I think, and also Pirates. And while purists might grumble that any opera company worth its salt should continue to stay away from this lighter fare, I applaud the VOA's commitment to showing more Vancouverites the delights of opera. Saturday night's seats were packed, and the responses were enthusiastic. Such a positive experience can only tempt novices to this art form to try something a little more chewy next time.

What would newbies have found to like in this production? Well, a rollicking stage set, right out of a children's pop-up picture book, sailing ship and all; A pirate crew in colourful costume, including a dashing Pirate King in leather pants (which he wore very well indeed!); Satire: the pratfalls of the fearful but determined-to-be-brave policement; Drama: a comically entangled plot, a foolish father protecting his bevy of maiden daughters, a potentially thwarted romance . . . . And voices! Harmonies and melodies and energetic rhythms sung by fabulous voices (we were especially impressed by baritone Giles Tomkins' Sergeant of Police) and supported by great work from the orchestra pit. You'll definitely wake up with an earworm or two the next day! In fact, click on the VOA's TV ad (Youtube video) above, and you might feel one slide into your auditory canal right now!

So with all this piracy, something a bit colourful seemed in order sartorially, last Saturday night. . . .

These Fluevog boots don't get out enough, and this seemed the perfect occasion for them. Normally, I'd pair them with something simple, following Imogen's advice of sticking to one "hero piece" per outfit. But for a Pirate operetta? No restraint necessary, right?

Well, okay, I did tone it down a bit by sticking to a simple navy v-neck on top (this Eric Bompard continues to punch far above its weight, CPW-wise!). The spot above my right breast there
isdid  not, thank goodness, accompany me all evening (I rushed to check the sweater when I saw the photo the following morning) -- I do wish Pater had spotted it through his lens and got me to brush whatever it was (a drop of water? a piece of lint?) away, but at least it wasn't adding one more, ahem, colourful note to my garb.
The (Robert Rodriguez) skirt is one I dreamed about for weeks before buying on sale several years ago. I love it, but generally follow Imogen's rule and wear it with caution. Here I decided to let it enjoy slightly more raucous company than usual -- and we all had a very enjoyable evening. . . .

And you can too, if you're in Vancouver and can manage to get to one of the three remaining performances. If not, you could find yourself a Pirates tune or two on Youtube and see what you think. Aargh? Aargh!
In case you're wondering, no, I get nothing from Vancouver Opera for singing their praises. We've been Season Subscribers for quite a few years now, and I simply admire the work they're doing and would love more people to know about it.

UPDATED TO ADD: I'm linking this post to Patti's Visible Monday -- sadly, VOA played its last Pirates yesterday (my 20-year-old rock-star nephew took his Granny, my mom, and they both loved it!). But you can still check out all the splendidly dressed Visible women rocking their look at Not Dead Yet Style.

19 comments:

  1. I think the skirt and boots complement each other, rather than vying for attention. (I still LOVE that skirt!!) I'm embarrassed to say I've never seen a G&S production, but Pirates would definitely be at the top of my list.

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  2. Oh, and I love the expression "punches above its weight" when it comes to garments.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. I suspect you'd enjoy the silliness that is Pirates!

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  3. Those boots are fabulous, and I love the story behind Pater's choice to go with them. I'm looking forward to going to the opera again in a couple of months.

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    1. In Fairbanks? or will you be "down south" (as we used to say when we lived in Northern BC -- you probably have a more Alaskan expression)

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  4. I've heard from others who enjoyed the performance and I wish I'd planned ahead so that we could have seen it. Like you, I grew up with a mother who loved music and can still sing snatches of many operettas and operas.

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    1. It's surprising how much of that early exposure really stuck, isn't it? My mother's memory is failing, as is yours, but the music still brings her such pleasure.

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  5. What an insouciant and memorable ensemble, very "light opera". And wonderful on you!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Duchesse! I love that adjective, "insouciant"!

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  6. My secondary school put on a G & S production every year and I thoroughly enjoyed them. It's really amazing how good school productions can be - my sons' school here put on Les Mis last year and it was wonderful.
    Your outfit is lovely, beautiful pieces but relaxed as a whole.

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    1. What an ambitious production for your school (and your sons') -- what a fabulous opportunity for students to experience so many kinds of learning.

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  7. Love those boots and a perfect outfit for the evening. P of P was my introduction to Gilbert & Sullivan - done in Grade 6 and I was the Director's (Vice-Principal)assistant. I loved every moment of it and still think G & S are the equivalent of a rock opera.

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    1. Amazing to think you would have tackled this as a Grade 6 student. And yes, G&S, rock on!!

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  8. I agree with Une Femme. I think the two slightly out there pieces work really well together, and actually make the whole outfit feel subtle but cool.

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    1. I must admit I felt pretty happy wearing them together, thanks!

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  9. Put me in the chorus (hee) of those loving the skirt and boots together - the skirt is gorgeous, a work of art! And thanks for the little bit of music, not I must hear more. As always, I appreciate your linking up to Visible Monday.

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  10. Truly yummy combination of colors. Quite perfect.
    I can imagine that Gilbert and Sullivan live, on the boards, is far and away the best way to go. But I will always love Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt in the old film version. And if you haven't seen "Topsy-Turvy" with Jim Broadbent, you'll have missed a much ignored classic about Gilbert, Sullivan and their strange working relationship and company.

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  11. The main thing that always strikes me when you model your outfits is how happy you are in your clothes. It really shows!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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