We arrived early, posed for photos, bought a candy bar. Our velvet-cushioned seats were in the Orchestra section, mere feet from the musicians tuning their instruments. Silk dresses, wool suits, fur coats, cashmere sweaters with dry cleaning tags still attached—everyone was dressed up and on best behavior.
We were at the ballet.Not just any ballet, but a world-class professional performance of Alice in Wonderland, where tickets cost $100 a pop, and they don’t even offer a discount for kids. My dad and step-mom Nichole had generously purchased four seats for our family as our Christmas present, part of the trend of “experience” gifts instead of adding to our ever-expanding collection of “more things.”
(We immediately walked into the gift shop and bought a white rabbit ornament. We needed a thing to remind us of our experience.)The performance lasted three hours, and if you ask me, that was about 21 hours too few. I LOVED EVERY SECOND. The latent art major in me gobbled up the set design like gourmet chocolate at an all-you-can-eat buffet: towers of oversized playing cards, a moving “sea,” a garden maze in psychedelic colors, a giant video of a spinning rabbit hole. Combine this with flawless music, sublime dancing, exquisite costumes, and colorful tissue-paper confetti falling over the audience’s unsuspecting heads. One hundred dollars a ticket? I think that was a bargain.
Tall and Short stared in awe. Even The Husband, who had reminded me three times while driving over that he was missing a football game on TV, seemed to be enjoying himself. I momentarily forgave him for continually pestering me before the show started to verify if this was actually going to be an Opera.“Because I hate Opera, and I’ll leave,” he declared. He said the word Opera with the same contempt most people might reserve for gum on the bottom of my shoe.
"Ballet," I confirmed, "not Opera."
After the first act, I leaned in and whispered to Tall, “What did you think so far?”“There’s more?” his voice rose in glee.
“Yes!” I smiled. “That was only the first part. There are still two more acts.”At the end of the show we sprung from our seats, along with the rest of the audience, and gave the dancers a well-deserved standing ovation. We clapped and stomped and cheered and whistled. Loudly.
And The Husband only thought football fans get that excited.As we drove home, Tall and Short chattered excitedly about the performance. “Remember when the Mad Hatter started tap dancing on the table?”, “And when the Queen took that flamingo and whacked the hedgehog?”, “And what about that Cheshire Cat—he was my favorite!”, “Or the dancing frog! I loved him!”, “And Alice—WOW! What a great dancer!”
When we returned home and walked in the house, Short turned to me to share one final impression: “Mommy, I love the Opera!”MOV