Opera for One

Last night, I was able to attend the Opera at St. Mark’s Church.  St. Mark’s is one of the few Anglican churches in Florence – maybe in Italy – it is the first and only one I have seen since I have been here, come to think of it.  Anyway, for the past 8 years, they have been performing delightful operas in this small intimate setting.  There are only 75 seats and the performers are about an arm’s length away from the front row.  Last night, I enjoyed an amazing performance of La Boheme.  I was on the fence about going initially, because I am a ninny and thought “Why would I go see a French Opera in Italy?”  Because, ding-dong, that French opera was written by Puccini and he is Italian!  Oh, and it gets better, I have been to his house…….in Lucca!  Jeeeeezzzzzuuuhhhsssss!  Sometimes, I scare myself, I really do……

The show was magnificent and tickets are fairly inexpensive – which is an added bonus!  Of course, as a single, they gave me the shitty seat.  Just as a side note, your relationship status determines whether you get a decent room, a decent seat, or a decent table in Europe.  If you are alone, they shove you into whatever corner you will fit in because they have to leave the good shit for couples who are here on some romantic rendezvous and all that crap.  For example, this is the table I was forced to sit at the other night for  dinner…the Santa Clause is there as an added reminder that I will ALONE for the holidays….how kind.


Oh well, I figured I wasn’t there to see a Brittney Spears concert so I didn’t need to see the performers in order to enjoy the show – the music carries itself.  Before the lights went down I spied an open seat, thankfully, closer to the center of the theatre, so I slid in to the seat next to a lovely older couple.  I didn’t want to be tucked behind a post for the entire show.  During the intermission, we exchanged travel stories and I felt like I was talking to my grandparents again.  They were both very kind and full of zeal for life, it was completely adorable!  Of course, I also have an extra place in my heart for them because they said they didn’t have to know the guy who broke my heart, it was his loss.  The gentleman went on to say that “it was all him and not me, and not to be tricked into thinking that relationships are 50/50, sometimes the other person is just an A-HOLE!”  Tom and Cheryl, I love you!

Now, whether you understand Italian or not, you will most certainly be on the edge of your seat regardless.   Each of the Arias or duets prompted robust applause from the audience, because the singing was so spectacular.  Then, we were all gripped with such suspense when the mezzo soprano finished her final piece, in the final act, there was total silence in the theatre.  I think this the indication of a truly powerful performance, when the performer stuns the audience with the beauty of their work….I just think none of us wanted to clap, at that point, for fear of interrupting such a sweet and precious moment between the performers on stage.

I must remember when I get home to continue to fill up the creative reservoir with museums, symphonies, shows, and good old fashioned FUN!  I hope you will make it a point to do the same for yourself and your loved ones.  Even if you aren’t the “creative” type, we all need art (remember my friend from DC who said the reason he left a small town in Colorado to get back to the big city in DC?)  Art reminds us that there are still possibilities for something new in our lives, to remember to stay open to change and that things are not quite finished.  Without art, we get stuck in the monotony of daily responsibilities and forget that we all still have potential growth not yet actualized, that there is life yet to be lived!  Art keeps us connected to one another and it is timeless – as annoying as the Madonna with Child paintings are, I appreciate that someone took care to compose something that was beautiful and meaningful to them hundreds of years ago and I get to view or hear the truth, as they saw it, today.  That is a powerful connection to the past, to understanding who we are, that you just can’t get from a textbook.

Having this time to reconnect with life both past and present has given me the opportunity I needed to reflect on the last couple of years of a shit storm and I am grateful that it doesn’t weigh on my mind and my heart any longer.  The owner of my favorite café asked me this morning when I would be returning to Florence which I did not have an answer, but I did ask why.  He said, “Florence suits you.  You can see in your face you are relaxed and happy.”  Aaaaannnnndddd, I cried.  “Why you cry?” he asked.  “I am just grateful,” I explained, “thank you.”  As if I wasn’t in love with this damn city enough, here the owner has to go and tell me that Firenze suits me!  Now he is just playing dirty….

But, I am coming home, I miss you all too much.  I must also remember, when I get back, to not fill up on so much pasta!  The last few nights I have been miserable because I ate like a horse.  (I know you feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for me too.)  When you go to Trattoria Nerone for some of that delicious tagliatelle (known to Americans as fettuccine) served with black truffle cream sauce, there is so way that self-discipline is going to intervene on your behalf to say, “You are full, you need to stop eating that now” when you are only have way finished plowing through that bowl of goodness.  Pictures just don’t do it justice……



  1. Laura

    It does change you, doesn't it? I think there is so much more that I have seen by way of possibilities that it has indeed opened up my soul again so it could breathe….really beautiful writing Chris, really beautiful.

  2. Christian Vargo

    …and traveling changes you. You come home to a different place and sitting in a space that is so familiar, yet so different, you come to understand that it is you that has changed. When I do get back to the states (rarely), I see how narrow being locked into one space makes you. I'm so stoked that you are swimming in the world!

  3. Laura

    Yes, I would definitely agree that without travel, we become very isolated from the whole story. I will work on other reaction boxes for this! 😉

  4. idolwench

    I read an exert from a young man's diary. He died in a plane crash coming home from mt. climbing in Nepal. Doing what he loved the most. His passion was travel, and in his short 25 years he had done alot of it. It brought his father comfort, when they found the diary, and he read, "To not travel, if like only reading the 1st page of a book." You my dear, have read the book and know just what he meant by that. God Speed in your remaining travels. Viva la Paris!

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