Earlier this month, I went with cinamon to the opera, to witness the glory that is Verdi's Nabucco.
It was my very first time at the opera, and I was quite excited. While I know and love most of Wagner's operas, I'd never actually experienced opera as it was meant to be until that day, as I only had the CDs, providing only the aural aspect of the opera experience. And I did not know Nabucco itself, except for one or two well-known highlights (including, of course, the chorus of the Hebrew slaves).
Thanks to cinamon's wits, we got excellent seats (orchestra, 5th row) for half their nominal price. The conductor was Dan Ettinger, whose conducting I had enjoyed previously in Mozart's and Verdi's Requiem masses, on two separate occasions. The music, played by the Rishon LeZion Symphonic Orchestra, was fantastic. The singers were competent, but the lead female role (Abigail, sung by either Elena Zelenskaya or Tatiana Chivarova) was uninspiring. Nabucco himself (Giancarlo Pasquetto) was excellent, and the Jewish Priest Zaccaria (Paata Burchuladze or Andrea Silvestrelli or Balint Szabo, cinamon has the paper from the specific evening) was impressive, too.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything. I foresee more visits to the opera house.
But the best part of the evening was cinamon surprising me with a gift! She just produced it out of her bag while we were driving to the opera house, and said it's for me. I have often voiced my conviction that birthday gifts are uninspiring and oppressive, and that spontaneous unbirthday gifts are far superior in all respects, but I'm still utterly surprised when a friend presents me with a gift like that. Unwrapping the gift, it turned out to be a double CD of Israeli female singers performing songs written by the great Hebrew poet Leah Goldberg. The performers' being women is apparently of thematic importance to the anthology, as it is called "Singing Leah Goldberg", with the "singing" being a Hebrew participle in the feminine form.
Some poems of Goldberg have attracted composers to create them as songs, and are mainstays of Hebrew popular music (e.g. "Selixot", performed by Yehudit Ravits), while others have had compositions and arrangements created recently or even especially for this project. I've always been a sucker for poetry readings, and sung poems are just as enticing. The album had just come out recently, and I hadn't heard of it at the time, but would have purchased it as soon as I would have, so cinamon picked a sure winner. Big hugs and thanks to cinamon, who knows me very, very well...