Beer, baseball and opera boffins
It's a strange old world in Cooperstown, NY State - a world of enthusiasts. Our breakfasts with other opera fans, staying at our B&B, are filled with talk of last night's production - some loved the singer playing the role of Carmen, some not so much. The same goes for the Escamillo but we all agreed on Don Jose as we passed around the eggs. Over bacon and muffins we talk about some of the best productions we've seen and swap ticket price information in our home towns.
|A good one, thanks Homeland Security|
Then we spend a morning listening to boffins (experts) from Harvard and Smith College talking about the tragic story of Medea - tonight's production. As my friend is fond of saying whenever we sit down to an opera, "This is not going to end well."
A change of pace is needed and the Ommegang Brewery has the answer. We join the beer enthusiasts and sample their Belgian style beers - the Witte wheat beer and Three Philosophers. You will remember the Homeland Security actually recommended the latter beer to us. Officer D, you were right.
|Baseball expressions we all use|
The brewery has a busy cafe with a great atmosphere and some menu items made in heaven including coffee and cardamom ice cream. We took the mussels and fries and studied a large map of North America with pins in it - customers are asked to mark their home town. I notice a huge area in the middle with no pins. All the clients seem to be along the west or east coast.
|The local wheat beer|
"What are these people doing? They need to drink more beer," I mention to a stranger, pointing to the area with no pins.
"Ah it's harder for them to get a designated driver," says the man in a Carnegie Hall t-shirt.
There is a quotation on the wall which reads, "Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire."
|Babe Ruth and his fans|
At the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum I head for the section on the history of the game and brush up on my knowledge. There is something charming about Americans' enthusiasm for this their national game. Whole families from grandparents down to small children are transfixed by the minutiae of the sport. (There is a store in town with a sign which says, We sell the cards your mother threw out). The museum has film footage of Babe Ruth's famous home run at the 1932 World Series. He had two called strikes when he pointed to centre field to indicate what he was about to do next. The rest is history.
|Choosing a bat|
It was raining in torrents tonight as we headed for our third opera in a row. A good night for a Greek tragedy and that is what we got. You know when the characters are covered in blood at the end that you have watched a real opera. Medea kills her own children in revenge for her husband abandoning her. It's a tough one to swallow but Montreal's Alexandra Deshorties as Medea was completely convincing and deserved her standing ovation. A stunning production which sometimes made me jump in my seat with fright.
Yesterday in NY.
We stayed at
We stayed at