"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paris - a state of mind, a condition of the heart...

Lyric Opera Chicago, December 2013

"Love is a heartbeat throughout the universe. 
Mysterious, altering, the torment and delight of my heart."
'Sempre Libera,' La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi

For 40+ years my mother, along with 9 other ladies, has been a season ticket holder to the Lyric Opera. Sadly, ma mere is the last original surviving member of her opera group. Wonderfully, the children of the original members 'inherited' their mother's season tickets. Now in her 80s, ma mere can no longer drive the long distance into the city so a few years ago, if there was an open ticket, I began to join her. I went not because I had any real interest in going to the opera, but because my mother loves it so and I was determined that she continue to attend. Well before the first act was over I was well and truly hooked! The orchestra, the singers, the costumes, the drama, the stage, the auditorium - all of it majestically glorious! 

At the opera…  
Ma mere always wears the coat I bought for her in Paris ;-}

Two years ago, for my birthday, mom gifted me with a lifetime subscription to the opera. She purchased the seat right behind hers. Now the opera is our date night. One night a month, we get dressed up, Mr. Gorgeous hires a car and stays home with the kids. Mom and I sip a little wine, laugh and gossip all the way to the theatre - it's the best way to deal with rush hour traffic ;-}

The Florian Bistro

Always, before the opera we have dinner 
at the little bistro on the third floor 

Avec champagne bien sur ;-}

Getting our second wind- If there is a 2nd intermission, mom and I return to the bistro for a fruit/cheese plate and coffee

We always sit at table #5 because it has the best view(s) of the bistro's main display case. Each season an iconic opera costume is featured. For the 2013/2014 season - Cio-Cio San's gorgeous kimono from Madame Butterfly.  

One of two identical stunning staircases

The Civic Opera House (opened in 1929) 
was the inspiration for the opera house 
featured in Orsen Welles's film Citizen Kane.

The corridor that leads to our seats: 6th floor, aisle 4…

The posh most sought after seats are on the main floor but, for those in the know, the 6th floor has the best views (completely unobstructed) and the very best acoustics.

Every inch of the opera house is so beautiful

This night the opera was La Traviata

Act One - A party in Paris

"Flora! Dear Friends! The night lies before us."

A raucous party at Flora's Act 2, Scene 2

Curtain call...

My unwanted hiatus from Paris has, more than ever, made/forced me to find pieces of Paris in my little part of the world, 4,000 miles away. And though it pains me to admit it, my time away from Paris and the adventures that have ensued because of it is a good thing; une tres bonne chose. My mother first introduced me to Paris more than 30 years ago. She loves that city as much as I. After that first trip she told me the secret of how to always hold on to the feeling of Paris, wherever, whenever: "Paris is a state of mind and a condition of the heart."Sitting in that beautiful opera house, listening to the soaring music, the majestic singing, it dawned on me, her 40+ year long opera nights are one of the many ways she holds on to 'her Paris' and now it is one of mine. But the best part of it all? We get to share these adventures together ;-} 

Currently, Mom and I are scheming, plotting and planning our next sojourn to Paris (hopefully this fall, fingers crossed). And when we do return, I'm taking ma mere divine to l'Opera National de Paris. She's never been and it will be my supreme honor to take her…

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


1st intermission - champagne on the red velvet
covered benches in the corridor outside our seats
toujours ;-}

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