Paris again for New Years and opera!

‘Tis the holiday season! People who you love gather around this time of the year because it’s cold and that’s what people do apparently around this time of the year lol.

Since I have a forever single life I decided to meet up with my sister for New Years. My sister wanted to come to New York for about 2 days or so but I suggested her to meet up with me in Paris again! So I’m staying for about 9 nights in Paris and I’ll see my sister for approximately 5 nights.

After getting rejected to a bunch of places in Airbnb, we finally were able to book a place around Bastille!! GOOD FOR ME!! Because it is literally two blocks away from the Bastille Opera House!! Boheme

I’m looking forward to La Boheme done with a contemporary space background. Gustavo Dudamel will be conducting and Sonya Yoncheva will be playing Mimi. I am so anticipated to this marvelous getaway. Especially for the conductor and the revolutionary attempt to redesign the set. 

There will be Don Quixote ballet performances during my stay in Paris. I intend to go and experience it all. I cannot wait. It’s been always hard this time of the year. Finals and wishing a lot of things. But everything’s fine and I’m very blessed. After all, I’ll be spending time in Paris for New Years. I have so much to be thankful about.


La Boheme in Opera Bastille

I arrived in Paris at 6:00 AM on the 29th of December, and after I came at the Airbnb, I went to the Bastille Opera House in the afternoon to acquire some information regarding the “Youth tickets.”

I don’t know if that’s the correct term, but if you’re under 28 and there are seats available for that show for that day, you’re able to buy a 215€ worth orchestra ticket for 35€. All you need to do is go 30 mins before the show starts, and if they have availability, you show your ID to prove they you’re under 28 and, voila! You can see the opera. And since the Airbnb that I stayed in was ten mins walking distance from the Bastille Opera House, I was able to ask for information about the availability of the tickets and see the show!

I feel so lucky that I was able to see “La Boheme” in Paris. My words cannot express my happiness. I’ve been to the Palais Garnier Opera House but not to Bastille Opera House! And this was the inside of the Opera House. I had a pretty decent seat, and this was the view from my seat.

The background for this particular performance of “La Boheme” was in space. Rodolfo was in outer space, and as he was dying in space on the spaceship, he reminisces Mimi while slowly running out of oxygen.

At first when I read information about La Boheme in a space background… I was opposed and appalled by this bold experiment of setting the background of this most loved classic, renowned opera in space. I mean what?!?! I was highly doubtful about this bold attempt.

But when I read what the director was trying to portray about how looking at the past from the future accentuates the tragedy of the love relationship that Mimi and Rodolfo had, I fell in love with every part of this bold attempt. It did work.

Rodolfo sees Mimi, hallucinating the past, he looks at the history, sees what has happened as if it is happening in the present and Rodolfo in space, tries to touch Mimi, but he’s not able to hold her because she isn’t there. She’s the past. It was heartbreaking to see that, how the future is linked to the history that makes us miss our loved ones even more dearly.

A tenor named Benjamin Bernheim played Rodolfo, and he was terrific. As soon as he opened his mouth and started singing… It was just pure magic!

I wish I would be able to see his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House!

This blog is like a diary for me to jot down a few of my thoughts:)

Middle East Doha, Qatar

My relative lives in Qatar and I’ve been there before but it was my first time to visit a market called Souq Waqif . And oh boy I have to say, I can finally say that I’ve been to the Middle East.

The beautiful patterns of the coin wallets, lamps, the smell of cloves, the people trying to sell souvenirs saying “Nihaoma”. A little on the side note, one thing I’m glad about living in New York is that due to the large Korean population, they don’t say Hello to me in Chinese or in Japanese.

Anyways, it was really unique and interesting to experience all the different type of Arabic culture, such as Syrian, Lebanese, Pakistan, Indian, etc restaurants everywhere with the sweet scent of the smoke of sheesh(?). In the back alleys, a huge pet store, selling perfume, cloths and Arabic sweets.

Street performance of a group of men singing, the women covered in hijab and the men wearing their traditional clothing was not something I’m used to seeing everyday.

It’s now winter in Doha so it had the perfect weather, 65 F. A perfect getaway from the freezing New York.

I got to have Syrian food with my relative and I have to say, boy oh boy it was delicious. Hummus and baba ganoush and something wrapped around in grape leaves with the freshly made bread. Oh, my gooodnessssssss. It was so good and I can’t forget the mint & lemon drink; which was not too sweet and not too sour, just perfect. It was just a perfect evening to spend time with my relative with. Even though we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it felt as if we were together the whole time.

Doha was nice to visit for a couple hours. I hope to see visit again!

But first, next stop is Paris. Once again 🙂

The Famous “La Comédie Française” theatre 

When I was in Paris, I had the chance to see  Rossini’s opera “La Cenerentola” for the second time but this time with my family. The next day, we decided to go and try to get tickets to see “Cyrano de Bergerac“. 

Since my aunt is a theatre actress/professor she was thrilled to visit this particular theater. The theater has so much history to it, in fact it is actually considered to be the oldest still-active theatre in the world. When we first visited the theatre, we asked about 4~5 times for ticket availability for the show Cyrano de Bergerac. They said every ticket that they are able to sell were all sold out but they mentioned that if we wait 2 hrs before the show starts, we might be able to get tickets to see the show. That’s why couple days later my aunt was determined to wait to see this show in the historical theater.

Me and my aunt, trying to look sad and hungry while waiting

We went to the theatre La Comédie Française around 6:20 and there were already people in line. So we went in the back of the line and my aunt and I sat down on the ground to wait. The show started at 8:00 and we had no idea when the box office would sell the leftover tickets. While we were waiting my aunt and I had a very deep conversation about art and politics that I was impressed with because it was hard to ever share these type of conversations with my aunt before. It was fun waiting in line. The hour went by so quick by having a long intellectual conversation. But then all of a sudden the box office opened and we were able to get tickets!! My aunt and I were so happy we jumped around in the park next to the theatre.

We got the tickets for only 5€ each. And of course the inside of the theater was small but extremely beautiful.

And there are photos of me and my family but I don’t have their consent of sharing their faces so I’ll just put up mine. Because.. I don’t care. What are you gonna do with my photo anyways. 

We expected to have English subtitles for the show but….  noooo English subtitles unlike the opera! We couldn’t understand anything. So…. we all slept 1/2 of the Act 1 and left during the intermission. The seats were 5€ for a reason because we were at the very top of the theater and every time we fell asleep we felt this fear of falling down over the railings haha. But we were all safe and sound in the end and went back to our hotel with satisfaction. 

After all, I can finally say that I’ve fell asleep watching Cyrano de Bergerac in the famous Theater Comedie Francaise. 

Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Paris

Tuesday, 7/11 I visited the opera house, Palais Garnier yesterday, but today was the actual day of the performance of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Which is basically Italian Cinderella.

I arrived there early before the performance and had a chance to look around inside the opera house. 

The pictures don’t do the justice of how beautiful it was. 

This was just a ceiling of a hallway outside of the opera house. I was so shocked when I saw this. I didn’t expect anything like this because I would’ve never thought of how beautiful a hallway could be.

I have to say, the metropolitan opera house is nothing compared to the magnificent historical architects.

The hallway and chandelier.

These were the entrances to the seats. I was surprised how they kept the tradition of these doors. 

Selfies from my seat lol. 

I have to say La Cenerentola was very delightful. The songs all were rhythmically amusing, the songs were mostly sharing the same melodies with similar endings. That’s why I think anyone who is not educated in opera would love this opera because it’s not hard to digest and it is definitely less heavier than the other serious operas. 

I can’t quite say the acting was great but it was definitely good enough to amuse and to make me laugh during the entire show. Vocals were great too. I felt everyone was exceptionally good .. until the last song where Angelina(Cinderella’s name) sings the most famous aria of this opera “Non piu mesta”. Technically she was almost perfect. Great. But I could tell while she was singing, she seemed as if her goal was to hit all those notes and sing perfectly. I wish she sang it in a way that the audience could empathize with her of how happy she is. After all  “Non piu mesta” means “no longer crying”. So I felt nothing in the end, when I was really looking forward to that song. In fact, I bet everyone did. But oh well it is what it is. The person next to me was really disappointed, he booed the mezzo-soprano who played Cenerentola. I understood why, but it was overall a very good production.

I fell in love with this first song of the very first act. 

La Cenerentola / Act 1: “No, no, no non v’è” by Gioachino Rossini

And the very end Aria that is most known for 

La Cententola “Non piu mesta” 

Listen to it if you get the chance to !! 
Ps. I’m so lucky and thankful that I got to see an opera in Paris !!!! 

PARIS Day 1, and of course Opera House, Palais Garnier 

I have arrived in Paris yesterday, July 9th, and it was raining night. I took the public transportation to get my hostel, but the train has stopped working when I was very close to my destination. 

So of course a New Yorker like me took an uber! I had to wait 15 mins out in the rain with my luggage and finally arrived at my destination. Thank goodness no one stole my things.

The hostel was overall a nightmare but I won’t get into details. 

The next day I woke up and I decided to walk all the way to the bookstore Shakespeare and Company. I remember reading a real experience book on how it was to live at the bookstore when I was 12. My eyes were tearing up when I realized that I was actually there today. But at the same time it was quite disappointing to see that the cat that lives in the bookstore wasn’t there 😦 
It was nice to see Notre Dame, but it was very sad to see the police with huge guns all over this beautiful cathedral. I understand that there are terrorisms going on all over Europe and they’re just trying to be defensive about it.. but it was such an unbalanced scenery that I didn’t want to see. Such a beautiful architecture and men with guns, don’t really seem that harmonious together. 

And of course and of course, I’ve went to the Opera House today!! Palais Garnier!! I’m actually seeing Rossini’s La Cenerentola tomorrow but I wanted to pick up the ticket beforehand. But apparently you’re not allowed to pick up the ticket the day before because it’s already booked. And I got into a long conversation with one of the guides of the opera house talking about our love towards opera. He decided to show me around the opera house and I didn’t have to pay the ticket for being a visitor. I said to myself “such luck!!” So I got to go inside the opera house and had a glimpse of the ballet rehearsal that was going on. I got to go in different sections of the opera house when it was not allowed for tourists. How lucky, right ? 

But. Little did I know. All of a sudden in the middle of the conversation he goes “you’re so nice” and tried to kiss me. So I guess he showed me around because he was interested in me. And he kept on asking me when I’m free during my stay. I made it clear that I wasn’t interested. 

Oh well, I still got to go inside and look around without paying. I would just like to say that I am a very lucky girl. For the most part. 

After all, I’m in Paris 💕

And all this goes to my sister. For working at a notoriously difficult airline to send my family and me on a trip like this. 

Thank you Inny.

“Cyrano de Bergerac” – Metropolitan Opera House

It was another RAINING day. 
I don’t know the reason why but lately every time I go see a show, it’s been pouring cats and dogs. Well I guess that’s my luck for show weather this year .!

Anyways I went to the Metropolitan Opera with my dear friend and also my dear friend’s friend and my dear friend’s friend’s friend(if ya know what I mean). Okay now my brain is about to explode. 

So I was lucky enough to go inside a car which meant = not wet. I was so so thankful. Thank you car, for not making my socks wet, and thank you human being who drove the car(even though she kept laughing with both hands off the steering wheel..). 

And the playbill had Leontyne Price on it!! Leontyne Price!!!!!! Happy 50th year Metropolitan Opera!!!
I’ve got great seats this time.

I’ve mentioned before that I like Opera with the Verissimo style. Which means that I like the Kaboom and a Bang! type of music. And the composer of Cyrano de Bergerac, Franco Alfano composed this dramatic music. 
While doing some research I noticed that when this opera premiered at that time, Guido M. Gatti criticised the composer as fearing “to seem too melodramatic”, and the opera for being “overdecorated and labored” and containing “difficult and tortuous vocal writing”. However, the same analysis also mentioned that “the opera has moments of definite effectiveness and exquisite poetry”.

I have to agree with the second part of the analysis that the opera has its moments of exquisite poetry. However, it’s also written and sung in French so I thought the melodramatic worked very well because of the story and the language. Personally, this opera had its dramatic moments. But maybe it could be because I like that dramatic types of music in opera, so I would also have to disagree on the fact that it’s overdecorated. To be honest, I loved it when the acts ended with such dramatic endings. There were moments where I was so satisfied from the dramatic music and there were times that the Soprano made me cry in the 4th Act. It was a satisfying to watch an opera that satisfied my musical needs. My type my type !! 

The cast of Cyrano de Bergerac. (Thank you friend for taking a picture)

It’s sad that a lot of people are missing out on experiencing such culture at the Metropolitan Opera. There are student tickets for only 37.50$ for people who don’t have a lot of money like me.  There was an article about the decline of the audience at the Metropolitan Opera house and I really wish that students around my age could go and experience it at least once. 37.50$ for a 3~4 hours of exquisite culture that you can experience, okay? GO NOW. Or ask me if you want 🙂