Verdi’s opera, La Traviata has the usual storyline: Boy meets prostitute, boy falls in love with prostitute, boy loses prostitute, boy gets prostitute back, prostitute dies in a long drawn out dramatic ending. But even if the story line sounds like a plot not even Lifetime would touch, Verdi’s amazing music sets this opera apart and makes it my favorite. In fact I’ve seen it 4 times now. The chick flick movie buff may actually recognize La Traviata as the opera that Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts to in Pretty Woman (probably to emphasize the point that she too is a prostitute).
Albuquerque’s opera company, Opera Southwest, is running their version at the downtown Kimo Theater (converted from an old movie theater) complete with a beautiful set, amazing costumes and a fantastic soprano in the title role.
For better or worse, Aaron married into a family that is a little opera-centric. We go to two productions a year, one here in Albuquerque during the spring and one at the Santa Fe Opera House during the summer. While both opera companies have very different ways of producing a show, Opera Southwest usually has more extravagant sets and costumes than Santa Fe making the spectacle a little more interesting to watch, plus sitting in the glam Kimo theater almost makes me feel like a 1930’s movie star sitting at a movie premier.
The occasion also let us get a little swankified. Aaron pulled out his Cole Haan shoes and the cuff links and tie clip that I bought him for Christmas (I savor the rare occasions when he dresses up…the boy cleans up very well). I also finally wore an Anthropologie dress I bought at Christmastime. Definitely one of those dresses that I spent too much money on only to wear once a year but I’ve noticed that Anthropologie has that effect on me.
Before attending a show at the Santa Fe Opera House, it is customary to “tailgate” (usually with wine and steak rather than beer and burgers) in the parking lot. Because there isn’t really a parking lot directly associated with the Kimo and no definitely no tailgaters, we usually attend a preshow dinner downtown instead.
I’m not sure when Farina Pizzeria opened, but sometime in the last couple of years this little restaurant popped up in the “EDo” neighborhood in downtown Albuquerque (What realtors are now calling East Downtown) on Central a few blocks west of I-25. While this area of town was constructed before the invention of cars making parking harder to find, Farina actually shares a large parking lot with the Artichoke Café, so parallel parking/driving over and over around the block isn’t necessary. On Saturday night there was even a parking lot attendant (tips appreciated but not required).
This is one of those places that suggests Albuquerque is really coming along with the Urban Renewal. The walls are brick and covered in art, and the restaurant is narrow and cozy giving it a San Francisco feel. They offer Marble Brewery selections on tap along with a good wine and bottled beer selection. The menu is somewhat limited…about 5 salad choices and 5 pizza choices along with some other non pizza options, but everything is super tasty and beautifully presented. While similar to Nob Hill’s Il Vicinio, Farina is a little more under the radar, making it less crowded and more laid back, and everything seems a little more organic.
We ended the night with a drive home under the beautifully full moon.