Last Monday marked the beginning of our second class session, this one focusing on Chinese cosmology, science, medicine, and metaphysics (or lack there of). The class is somewhat hard to explain, although the differences in Chinese thought – just how they approached things- compared to the West is really interesting. So anyway, last Wednesday we had a class field trip to the opera “Madame White Snake”, which is based on an ancient Chinese fable (see separate post on the actual story). Apparently our professor knew the librettist who wrote the opera, so we ended up getting free tickets.
The tickets were divided into two blocks, one on the upper balcony and one on the main floor. In the random distribution of tickets, I lucked out and got Floor 1, Row 4, Seat 32! It was at that point I decided to be a perpetual study abroad student, because the perks here are way better than being on campus. (Field trips to different cities among them) We were four rows away from the stage, and when we (4 students, who ended up with the really good tickets) got there, there were coats in our seats. This lead to some worries abut whether we actually had tickets, but we went up and watched the musicians tune up while waiting to see what people came back to get their coats. Come to find out, it was the librettist and the producer who had set their coats in our seats, which was pretty cool, and they ended up moving two rows closer, and we enjoyed our fourth row seats.
It was the first time I had gone to an opera, and it was incredible! The stage composition and lighting was really cool, though you couldn't actually understand what they were singing. (They had subtitles in Chinese, but I couldn't read most of them). The opera was actually in English, and was produced by the Boston Opera. The music was gorgeous, too - it was a combination of Western and traditional Chinese music, and the love theme that resurfaced at various points was beautiful. The summary of the story is below, in case you want to share in my cultural enlightenment. ;)