Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's called "Reggie" (and other things overheard at the opera cinema)

Cissy, Wilf, Reggie, and Jean (in the film Quartet)
Seriously, in the lobby after the first act, while everyone was complaining that Lohengrin was a twitching neurotic (possibly morphing from swan to human) mess, someone said, "It's called Reggie Opera." I thought I must have heard wrong, but he repeated it, at least three more times. 

Actually when people ask me how to pronounce it, I tell them it depends on what country you're in. When I named this blog, (I think you should get to name your blog "My Blog" for the first two months till you figure out what you're writing about – sort of like not declaring a major till your sophomore year) I was thinking hard G:"re-GHEE or Not re-GHEE" as a pun on Hamlet. But many people, including some Germans, say "Re-ZHEE" which actually sounds nicer, and much less German. 

Theater audiences in this area (especially in indie/art cinemas and certain concert venues) can be irritating or amusing, depending on your mood. Behind me was an elderly European man wearing a beret and dropping names all over the place, talking about when he worked with Alexander Schneider, Erich Kleiber, Horowitz, and probably Wagner himself, and offering fascinating facts like Daniel Barenboim was born in Argentina. (First of all, DUH; and second of all, what’s your point?) He mostly shut up during the opera, though he had an annoying tendency to whisper final words of key phrases along with the singers. 

Dad said he was thinking about turning around and relating his experiences of seeing Parsifal from Hitler's box at the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth (not with Hitler, this was after the war), and about chatting with Friedelind Wagner over cocktails (he really did.)

Then there was the guy who got out his cellphone in the first intermission and loudly told the person on the other end how much he hated the production. (It was a small theater, with good acoustics.) I told my Dad he never should have held the door for that guy on the way in. This guy also was worried they weren't going to dim the lights for Act 2, and started yelling, “Douse the lights!” (What? Are we on the ship with the Flying Dutchman? Sheesh!) At least he conceded that the singers were doing a good job. And he didn't make any more calls after Act 2.

They’re screening La Boheme from the ROH tomorrow night, and we're likely to go, in spite of the posers, wanna-bes, and philistines. The guys running the theater are nice, and most of the patrons are friendly and well-behaved. Dad's going to wear his beret. 


  1. I haven't seen Quartet - is there really a character named Reggie Opera?

    I think I tend to with "re-zhee" for the reason you mention. I like the way it sounds better than "re-gee"

    1. There is an opera singer named Reggie. I made up his last name :-)

    2. See, now there's a good blogging pseudonym for anyone who wants one: Reggie Opera (short for either Reginald or Regina - could work for anyone!)

  2. Great idea!! I guess it's a little late for me to retreat behind a pseudonym now, huh? Or is it? Hmmmmm...


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