"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

6.02.2008

last night in live music: time for something different

I went to an opera yesterday.

No, really. There I was, sitting on my sofa after church, contemplating a nap, when, at precisely 2:26pm, my phone rang. It was Steve Not the Lawyer, asking if I wanted to go see The Bat, an Austinized version of Johann Strauss's operetta Die Fledermaus as interpreted by Esther's Follies and the Austin Lyric Opera. At 3pm.

Who could say no to that?

(Actually, I could have. I'm not really one for Opera in all its varied forms. My main reason for jumping off the couch, finding a dress and my pearls, and dashing out the door within six minutes was that my poverty means this was probably my one and only chance to see the inside of the bajillion-dollar new The Long Center for the Performing Arts.)

It was really bizarre. Really, truly bizarre. It was not, as I had feared, in German. It was, instead, a send-up of Austin and its many characters, real and otherwise. And partway through the second act, everything stopped while Shannon Sedwick (who, incidentally, apparently played a stripper in the Coen brothers' genius Blood Simple (according to the IMDB). You learn something new every day.) came out and did her Patsy Cline routine. Then Joe Ely came on stage and played "All Just to Get to You," just him and his guitar. It was awesome, so awesome, in fact, that the crowd of Sunday-afternoon lyric opera subscribers demanded an encore. Which Ely obliged by playing a cover of my favorite song, Billy Joe Shaver's "Live Forever."

That alone was worth the price of admission.

I should probably mention that our price of admission was $0, because these tickets belonged to someone at the church who passed them along to someone who passed them along to Steve Not the Lawyer. But you know what I mean. It was an amazing, only-in-Austin moment.

Anyway, this was far from my typical kind of musical outing, but The Bat was lots of fun nonetheless. The Long Center is gorgeous, and the acoustics are great. Now if only they could solve that pesky parking problem...

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