I'm not a huge fan of opera. In fact, strike that, I'm not an opera fan at all, who am I kidding? That's not to say that there's anything wrong with opera or with people who enjoy it. I'm just die hard rock 'n' roll, which has evolved from the 1960s and now includes all sorts of musical classes. When my husband told me that our season tickets for Mondavi included Linda Ronstadt, I was intrigued.
Let me be clear, it wasn't opera. But one of the things I don't like about opera is it's typically performed in another language, so unless I know the story very well, I don't know what's going on.
Now, imagine you are sitting in the audience at the Mondavi Center in Davis, California (about a 15-minute drive from Sacramento), and 10 Mariachis storm the stage -- five violinists, two horns, a harp player, bassist and a guy on rhythm guitar. The only time I hear Mariachi music is when I'm in Mexico drinking margaritas, and suddenly I had a craving for chips and salsa, and the music made me feel like I should be dancing in the aisles. But nobody was dancing in the aisles.
With the exception of a few sentences in English, the entertainers spoke in Spanish. All the songs were in Spanish. I wish I knew more Spanish, but my vocabulary is limited to finding the bathroom and ordering a glass of wine.
I half wished for closed captioning.
There was no Long, Long, Time or Different Drum or even Blue Bayou. But I expected that. It was interesting because the music evoked emotion: longing, suffering, joy and love; at least I think it did since I didn't understand any of it. My husband said Ronstadt couldn't hit all the notes and was off key at times, but I didn't notice it.
Ronstadt wore a jacket that was U.S. Air Force meets motorcycle gang, sporting a colorful illustration on the back, paired with a mid-calf cotton pleated skirt and flats. She still has her trademark bangs, but her hair was shorter, a blunt cut at chin level. I guessed she was 61, my husband thought 66, but she's actually 62. I looked it up this morning. Born July 15, 1946.
The parking lot was jammed upon leaving. We were driving toward the back exit, which is the long way around Mondavi. We drove past cones that lead to the front entrance. A few cars were in that aisle. "You could drive past the cones and go out that way," I mentioned, as my husband followed the other cars to the alternate exit. Do you want to drive? Do you want to drive? Do you want to drive? My husband was clearly agitated. "Oh, I'm afraid of the little cones," I giggled. He slammed on the brakes and then continued to drive. He has no sense of humor in these situations.
While I enjoyed the show, I now know how non-English speaking visitors to our country might feel at an English-speaking concert. Except typically those guests can speak two languages, and I can speak only one; it's an inadequate feeling.
Photo: Big Stock Photo
The Short Sale, by Elizabeth Weintraub, coming from Archer Ellison in January 2009.