I spent part of my childhood in Sitka, Alaska, which was the capital when it was a Russian territory. So I’ve always been interested in Russian language, history, art and culture. In October and November the Icelandic Opera was performing Évgení Onegin…a Tchaikovsky opera based on a novel by Alexander Pushkin.

To share the summary from the website, “The dashing, unconventional Onegin visits the estate of Mrs. Larina and her daughters, Tatjana and Olga. From first glance, Tatjana believes that he is the hero of her dreams, but he rejects her without hesitation. Onegin is bored in the countryside and flirts with her sister Olga. He outrages Lensky, Olga’s fiancé and Onegin’s only friend and Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel where Onegin kills his only friend. To try to escape his guilt Onegin travels the world but returns to Russia and discovers that Tatyana is married to Prince Gremin and lives in the high society of St. Petersburg. He is devastated and begs her to return his love to her. Although she still loves him deeply, Tatyana stays true to her husband.”

Photo by Johanna Olafsdottir from http://www.whatson.is.

Photo by Johanna Olafsdottir from http://www.whatson.is.

Photo by Johanna Olafsdottir from http://www.whatson.is.

Photo by Johanna Olafsdottir from http://www.whatson.is.

I was very excited to see it as this was the first time an opera had been performed in Russian in Iceland. My hubby is a fan of the arts, but he’s not a huge Russian opera fan. So I thought to maybe make it a girls’ night…except I couldn’t get a single girlfriend to go with me. Granted I didn’t ask EVERYONE I know, but it started to feel like it after a while. So eventually I just gave up on asking and decided that I was going to go see it on my own.

I used to go to movies and performances on my own all the time when I was single. But I usually made a point of going to matinees. Going out at 8:00 on a Saturday night on my own felt quite mischievous. But I bought my ticket, made it to Harpa, downed a glass of champagne and took a selfie in time to get settled in my seat.

A little champagne selfie.

A little champagne selfie.

And it was a lovely opera with convenient super-titles in Icelandic and English. I’ve seen foreign language operas before, but I’d never thought about how much effort went into learning the lyrics. Now that I’m in a local choir, and we’re doing a dozen songs in Icelandic, which I don’t speak, I can’t imagine doing three hours’ worth of music in a foreign language. You think that it all makes sense to the performers, but that’s not always the case. It’s like throwing a thousand meaningless words in a bag, dumping them out on the floor, and then trying to remember them in some kind of sequence.

So I was doubly impressed and had a thoroughly good time. I might have to make solo operas a regular event. 😉

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