Hallo Google Zürich

So yesterday, I went to the Zürich Opera to see Aida. I could hardly be described as an Opera lover, but I certainly appreciated yesterday’s representation. The reason I went to this show is in itself a small story. Earlier this year, the Zürich Opernhaus printed out an advertisement that was quite targeted at Google. In essence it suggest that Zooglers (people working at Google Zürich) should go to the opera. This actually got our attention, and so contacts were taken and thanks to the administrative staff, an actual opera outing was organized. So we dressed up and went to the Opernhaus. Beside the opera itself, we we given an introduction by a very funny Englishman.

The opera itself was really nice, Aida has many powerful arie, and I like both the singing and the orchestra. As I was seated on the upper floor the sound of the orchestra was very powerful. It seems that at some point in the first two acts, the trumpets played from a balcony, but I was too concentrated on the stage to notice. I was less convinced by the dancing, which felt somehow weak and sloppy. The “Mise en scène” was very interesting: instead of setting the story in Antic Egypt, the costumes and the set where from a colonial period, the war between Egypt and Etiopia happening while western archeologists examine a huge and impressive altar of Ptah. When Radamès returns in triumph, he emerges of a steel battleship. The priests of Isis wear both fezes and costumes reminiscent of masonic societies. The set of the third act included a rounded veranda with Art Nouveau stained glass representing the pyramids and the sphinx that I really loved. In some sense, putting Aida into the historical context of Verdi was an interesting exercice, and I liked the result which was somehow reminiscent of the steampunk style. Admittedly I am not an fan of antic Egypt.

Besides the show itself, it was interesting to look at the other spectators. There were of course many dressed up colleagues (this normally only happens on the first of April). Expectedly there were mostly old people, probably from the Goldküste, but this being Zürich, I also spotted a girl with both a cocktail dress and extensive tattoo on the left arm…

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