One of the many events that Christine had planned and included me in prior to my arrival, was a trip with some of her classmates to Verona to take in an Opera at the Arena di Verona, an arena built in AD30. Verona is about a 2.5 hour bus ride outside of Milan, and is famous for being the home to the original balcony where the timeless literary classic, Romeo and Juliet took place. We arrive in Verona at around 5:30p, and take off on foot with her classmates, and only planned to walk around for about an hour. We walked into the courtyard of Castelvecchio, the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages, crossed its bridge, and found ourselves in a lively piazza. We stopped and grabbed an Spritz Apperol to cool down, and made our way to our dinner reservations. We drank some wine, ate some steaks, and prepared ourselves for the 3 hour opera in the Arena di Verona.

I’m not one to voluntarily go to the Opera, or stay still for 3 hours. Having worked at the Ravinia for 3 summers, I had a chance to attend every opera that came through, but it never really was my thing. But I will tell you this. The real way to view an opera is to watch it in an arena, that was built with ancient acoustics in mind, and under a clear sky full of stars. I had no idea what was going on in the story, or what was being said, but I’ll tell you this, the singers voices without bring mic’d up and the stage set ups and costumes were amazing. Also it was super casual, so no wearing tuxedos for me. There were even beer vendors like the ones at ball games selling beers and mini bottles of wine during the intermissions. Beer + Opera = Simply magical.

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