I only know 3 true opera fans. They would have killed to be me last night. The rest of you would have loved it, too. Heck even pop-music Chris had a good time.
In the middle of our adopted town of Acqui Terme there is a small outdoor amphitheater with intimate seating for around 300 people. It is located in the historic district, accessible only by narrow cobblestone streets rich in Italian hilltown architecture, ambiance and charm. Part of the amphitheater encompasses the ancient town wall. The original Roman buildings around the periphery are now swanky apartments with windows and balconies overlooking the stage. They have their own box seats for every show. Glancing up during the concert I spied kids in PJs playing with their stuffed animals, couples sipping wine, and even a nonna who stepped out on her balcony fresh from finishing up the dishes, drying her hands on her apron.
The weather was perfect. Following an early evening shower the sky was crackling clear. The stars shown down on the performance rivaling the stage lights in brilliance. I patted myself on the back for finally getting into the habit of bringing a much-needed light sweater with me in the evenings, even in summertime.
José Carreras was pure class. From the moment he stepped on the stage through every perfectly atoned note he was perfectly poised, confident without arrogance, and utterly completely in control. The audience adored him, and why not? José Carreras is a musical legend. He’s one of the world renowned Three Tenors that includes Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Here’s a fun site about The Three Tenors that includes a couple of short music videos, some basic opera history and some other interesting stuff. If ever there was a ‘fun with opera’ site, this is it.
I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to be in a crowd yelling “ANCORA!” (Encore!”) and know that was not a foreign word to them. Three encores later, and close to midnight, Chris and I strolled back through town and were tempted by the sound of a jazz band playing at the new bar on Corsa Italia. Saturday night in Acqui Terme is HOPPING with a wide range of social activities for every age and taste. Speaking of taste, there are enough local restaurants here to keep us trying a weekly new spot for way over a year.
I’m feeling really smart. Where else but in the Italian Piedmont could you find gorgeous unspoiled rural countryside, the best wine and food on the planet AND world-class cultural events – AFFORDABLY - all within 5 kilometers? It makes me feel like singing an aria!