The view of the main floor of the Hungarian National Opera from up in the peanut gallery prior to a performance of Rossini’s La Cenerentola two nights ago. (The place ended up packed, we got there early for the photo ops.) Last weekend when we went to see Verdi’s Rigoletto, we actually sat on the main floor where the seats go for ten times as much as we paid for these high up seats. Surprisingly the view and the sound form the cheap seats was essentially the same as from the main floor seats.
La Cenerentola is the story of Cinderella, with some major differences compared to Disney’s movie version (unfortunately the only reference point I have). The wicked stepmother is replaced by a stepfather, the Fairy Godmother is replaced by a philosopher, Cinderella’s name is Angelina and she is identified not by her glass slipper but by her bracelet. And at least in the Hungarian version, those birds, mice, etc. that were always helping out Cinderella are replaced by a bunch of clowns that sit around the stage most of the performance and the fancy carriage she went in to the ball was replaced by a junky old car.
Both operas we saw where of course performed in Italian. There were supertitle translations displayed on a screen above the stage but they translated the Italian into Hungarian. So we didn’t always know exactly what was going on, although we had some idea since we’d read synopses of the stories on the internet before going. Still we found the operas entertaining.
The Hungarian opera has a world-class reputation but I must say in my extremely meager opera experience (the only other ones I’ve seen have been live broadcasts on movie screens) the Metropolitan Opera in New York City is considerably better. As they say, I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.