Watching an opera had never ever occurred to us until one fine day when Pete was getting a good deal on the ticket and was looking for some company. Till then we had seen opera only in a few movies and didn't know what to expect. Being inside one of the oldest theatre was mesmerising in itself, huge 3-tiered auditorium, dome-shaped roof, adorned with sculptures & paintings, the place itself was a great piece of art. As we settled down, Pete informed us that the opera was going to be in English, phew! that was one relief, but he quickly added that language is never a barrier in understanding an opera.
|P.C. English National Opera|
The Opera was - The Passenger, based on a story around a German newlywed couple - Liese & Walter, travelling to Brazil on an ocean liner and their co-passenger a polish woman - Marta whom the wife recognises as a former inmate of Auschwitz concentration camp during the WWII (and who is supposed to be dead) where Liese herself (unknown to her Diplomatic husband) was a guard and played a crucial role in torturing Marta and getting Marta's then fiancé killed. The past haunts her as their journey progresses. The stage was divided into two levels, upper level as the dock of the liner i.e. the present time while the lower level as the Auschwitz concentration camp i.e. past. The contrast between two scenes was heart-wrenching giving the lower level of the stage a feel of a hell underground. Although it was a very gloomy subject, we stayed glued to our seats, at times holding our breaths.
A weak student of history, I knew only a few highlights of both the world wars, but this opera intrigued me into reading more about those. I think there are still hundreds if not thousands of untold stories from this era which show that if left unleashed, what low levels an individual human being can stoop to.
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