Lust is a key element in opera. Two weeks ago, the second offering of the season was "The Abduction from the Seraglio," which I kept calling "The Rape of the Seraglio," thinking possibly of the Rape of the Sabines. An early title apparently was "Rape in ...," but "Abduction from" turns the story more into a rescue operation, at least for modern ears to which "rape" only connotes sexual assault or violation. This is the opera that was the source of the "too many notes" comment by the emperor who commissioned it from Mozart. Our HOT "Seraglio" performance featured Hawaii's own environmentally correct Jason Scott Lee, in the non-singing, not-too-many-notes role of the pasha. He was good at the poses. (I don't suppose it's any stranger to have this delightful Chinese-American playing a Turk than it was to have Richard Chamberlain star in The King and I, HOT's 2006 summer offering. What a lot of interesting talent we have in Hawaii!)
Alas, in the not-so-bitter cold of a Hawaii winter, weary and busy with Chinese painting classes, opera-going, work (especially work) and social commitments, I missed the Westminster Dog Show, where a stalwart old non-competitive spaniel won best-of-show. I would like to have seen it. But dogs and opera will still be linked in my memories of this season: leaving the hall last night, we followed a young couple to the parking garage. He was carrying a nice Gucci tote out of which poked the head of a maltese or shih tzu, some fluffy toy purse pooch. I didn't recall a dog in the cast (like the Barber of Seville's wayward bulldog in 2000, I think, has it been that long? Or maybe it was The Marriage of Figaro). We commented that the dog was really well behaved. "Oh we always bring him, he loves the opera, the symphony and ballet too," the young woman confided.
That's why I enjoy the opera -- you just never know what's going to happen.