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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, March 12, 2012

Venice Diaries VIII

What a glorious (and exhausting) day in Sarasota yesterday!
I expected the traffic on Sunday to be a little easier -- wrong,
everyone was going somewhere. Still, we made the center
of the city (It is a real city), in an hour, early enough to park
across the street from the opera house. Then time for a stop
at a restaurant serving genuine gelato, better than the house
in Venice.

The opera house is a lavishly remodeled movie theater,
looking exactly like a provincial opera palazzo in Italy.
I was especially interested in seeing "Otello," because it
is one of Verdi's best, and is rarely performed. The acoustics
were not perfect, but the house is small enough to project
every note to the far reaches. We were in orchestra center,
about two-thirds back from the stage.

The leads, Otello and Desdemona, although a little porky in
stature, were sound in every way: timbre, pitch, tessitura.
Otello is not easy on the tenor, who has to sing with full
power thoughout the opera. The fellow playing Iago needed
to learn how to act; he sang all his arias flat-footed, knees
together, facing the audience. Beautiful sets, which drew
applause at each scene change.

I noticed in the program that Suzanne and Henry Foster
were listed, and pictured, as Season Sponsors, which
probably means heavy hitters. We were friends with them
in Brewster before Mom died, sharing an interest in the
Brewster historical society. I knew they spent the winter
in their home on Longboat Key. Suzanne was trained as
an opera singer and performed in some regional venues.

Roger and Mariarosa Rockefeller had invited us for dinner
after the opera, at their condominium on Longboat Key.
That was very nice and much appreciated, including the
attendance of a cousin of Roger's (and Barbara's husband,
Winston) whom Barbara knew. The condo complex is
a gated high rise right on the beach, to which we had to
be admitted by a lengthy procedure of identification.

On the way home, we decided that living in such a place
would be like being in a prison. I characterized it as
a "project" for the well-to-do, with a whole bunch of
equal "projects" nearby, lacking only graffiti and drug
dealers. A couple of days earlier, we looked at an
apartment complex just to see what was being offered.
Although nicely appointed, Barbara said it would be like
living in a closet, good for one person, maybe.

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