Call me uneducated (I hear you), but I had to wait until I was 42 to enjoy, for the first time, a live opera show… Well, in any of its manifestations, because I had never seen one on television either.
Don’t ask me why this happened. Well, I do. The answer is simple: the opportunity was simply never given and I had no interest in forcing it.
Now that I’ve deviated with Mozart’s magnificent opera Don Giovanni, and in an incomparable setting, I must say that I feel like repeating. I will always fondly remember my first night at the opera.
A little bit of history about the Romanian National Opera of Timisoara
Without detracting from the theatre of my beloved Alicante, I was very happy to see my first opera in a venue such as the Romanian National Opera in Timisoara.
Nestled in the majestic historic centre of Timisoara – which for a reason is known as the Vienna of Romania – the Romanian National Opera building stands on its own at one end of the Piata Libertati (Liberty Square) and is a shared seat, as it also houses the Mihai Eminescu National Theatre of Timisoara.
The construction of the beautiful building of the Romanian National Opera of Timisoara began in 1871 and was completed in 1875. The work was carried out by architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, and a subsequent renovation (in 1923) was commissioned to local artist Duiliu Marcu.
The life of the building has been as tragic as the stories told by the operas represented in it.
Shortly after the inauguration in 1875 (Verdi’s magnificent opera “Aida” was made) a fire consumed much of the building. It was April 1880 and as there were no private funds to repair the disaster, the government decided to take over the reconstruction work.
The reconstruction was completed in 1882, with the creation of a Renaissance-style façade. However, the place seemed to be cursed, as a second fire, in 1920, destroyed everything again, except the side wings. In 1923, Duiliu Marcu was in charge of the second reconstruction. Since then, “No Smoking” posters have multiplied all over the site.
My experience at the Romanian National Opera in Timisoara
The experience of seeing my first opera in Romania began in Spain, when I bought the tickets through the official website of the Romanian National Opera of Timisoara. Prices are unthinkable for anyone who has ever been to an opera, and I could find some box seats (although the visibility was not the best of all) for 50 leus (or leis), about 11€ at the current exchange rate. The most expensive entrance did not exceed 100 leus.
Once in Timisoara, the second part of the plan consisted of choosing what to wear to the opera. I must admit that I don’t have very elegant clothes in my wardrobe, so I chose a brown turtleneck sweater and exchanged slippers for shoes. Likewise, no matter how hard I tried, I would never have lived up to the beauty of my companion.
We arrive at the main gate of the opera about 20 minutes before the start of the performance. A handsome and friendly young man checked the entrances in the same door and gave us passage to the zone destined to keep the coats.
Two beautiful stairs, made of something that looked like white marble, climbed to the second floor of the building. In each of the flats, some nice girls offered you the libretto of “Don Giovanni”, but being only in Romanian, we decided not to buy it.
Once we had located our seats, I went to explore the rest of the building. A small bar served meals and drinks before starting and then at rest. On the third floor, several small doors gave access to other boxes, and a room – into which I entered by mistake, thinking it was the bathroom – served as an attic, piling up old utensils of light and sound.
Everything was covered with red carpet and the stately touch spread to ceilings, walls and, of course, to the attendees, some of whom wore their best clothes.
I got to my seat just as a girl was closing the door to my box. We were lucky and, despite having seven chairs in the cubicle, we were able to enjoy the function alone. I settled in and enjoyed a show that touched me.
Having a certain mastery of Italian, at first I tried to follow history without the help of technology. On the electronic panel above the stage, they only put subtitles in Romanian, so it didn’t help me much. In the end, and for fear of missing out on important things, I gave in and ended up using the omnipresent Wikipedia, which seems to be good for everything.
In my deep ignorance of the genre, I found the actors magnificent, the atmosphere excellent and the audience more than correct. Don Giovanni, however, seemed to me to be a guy who looked for what he found at the end of the plot. Don’t you know how it ends? Well, you know, travel to the wonderful city of Timisoara and enjoy its opera.
One night at the Timisoara Opera5 (100%) 1 vote