Saturday, March 02, 2013

Roger’s 50th - Tosca

Just occasionally we do ‘posh’ - and tonight was one of those occasions.

The Royal Opera House

With DJs and posh frocks on the outside and Sudafed and Strepsils (for Ann and me ) on the inside, we set off for the Royal Opera House to celebrate Roger’s 50th. After our quick change of clothes, we headed for Stevenage station and the luxury of a first-class seat into London. 

It was all a big secret and all Roger knew was that he had to wear black-tie and we’d be heading into London. What he didn’t yet know was that we were heading for the opening night of Tosca. We were also going to treat him to a meal in the ROH’s restaurant (where they serve your meal prior to the opera and continue serving desserts and coffees during the various intervals) - a simple concept, that makes the best use of time.

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A view from our table in the restaurant

The Royal Opera House
Another view from our table in the restaurant

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Nearly time for curtain-up!

After our meal we headed to our seats, slightly to the right and to the back of the auditorium. If there’s still a recession on, then someone needs to tell the ROH! - the place was packed by 7.30  with not one single empty seat in the house. And with tickets starting at around £100, it was going to be a good night for the accountants!

I wouldn’t put myself down as an opera buff, but I do like a good tune - and of the three acts, the aria in Act II was probably the most memorable. The storyline was pretty similar to most other operas - love, lust, anger, betrayal, blood, power and death -  and you just knew from the moment the Opera began, things weren’t going to turn out well for the main characters. Three hours and three gallons of tears later, both main characters were dead and so was the main bad-guy!

Tosca makes EastEnders look like The One Show! (and you probably won’t see that comment anywhere else on the ‘net!)

And then it was back to reality with a bang as once the curtain was down and the obligatory ‘bravos’ were shouted, everyone then headed for the cloakroom to retrieve their coats. The ROH may be posh, but the retrieval process for the coats looked and felt more like a rugby scrum on a bad day (albeit a very well-dressed bad-day!) - there may have been a queuing system, but it was hard to tell! I didn’t help the process by losing the coat token (only to find later that Jane had it!) Doh!

It was then a quick taxi-ride back to Kings Cross and then onto the train taking us back to Stevenage. The first-class carriage was as cramped as when we travelled in earlier - just 12 seats. The added free entertainment was that two guys and a gal (sensing that no-one would check their tickets) piled into first class and made themselves comfortable. One of the guys was clearly off-his-face, proudly announcing how much he’d drunk to his friends whilst totting up how many burgers he’s had so far that evening (apparently, five!). Call me an old fuddy-duddy (I am), but his language was pretty objectionable - ‘f’ this, woven in with the occasional ‘c’ word - disgusting! (Maybe I should take the train to Tunbridge Wells instead!!!).

Of course, being typically Brits, we tutted - and did nothing!

By now, the bug I’d picked up earlier in the week was winning, and I was feeling pretty rough. It may have been the medication I was on, but I really did have some uncharitable thoughts about our burger-friend including hoping that he could get a part in Tosca -  preferably as one of the main characters!

As soon as we got back to Roger and Jane’s, it was a quick drink and then off to bed, rattling with medication.

It’s been a great night for Roger’s 50th - I just wish I’d been firing on more than one cylinder. The Opera was very enjoyable - although not my personal favourite, it had its moments and more importantly, it had been a night to remember for Roger!