I will openly admit that when I planned this trip, I was going to walk past the opera house, take some pics and call it a day. By researching more about my upcoming trip and stories of past experiences, (Grandma and Grandpa) I decided to make it a plan to see the opera. I mean how many people can say they’ve seen an opera at the internationally known famous Wiener Staatsoper?! (Hey German people, why is “wiener” is so many things? It just makes me giggle)
Thanks again to Rick Steves, I read that you can buy standing room only tickets the day of the show for cheap. Let’s be honest, I am on a student budget but willing to splurge for experiences. I asked my hotel concierge about it and he just looked at me asking if I really wanted to stand for a 3 hour opera in Italian? I bit my tongue from saying, “Hey wiener-man (is that german?) I’m trying to make memories here!”
After walking around town for the day, I strolled past the opera house about two hours before the show started. Someone in a costume approached me, I put my head down and kept walking but I heard him say “opera tickets”. Yes, I know the classic tourist scams that exist and truly intended to walk past this man looking for foreigners, but I was intrigued. I asked if the tickets were for that night and he confirmed that he still had several tickets in boxes for that night’s show. And I just had to pay him in cash…hmm suspicious. He spoke very good English so I asked some hardball questions to see if this was real, like, “Are you a scam?” “How do I know these tickets are real?” “Who do you work for?”
Now writing and looking at these questions, they seem pretty simple and even the best answers still might be a scam. But after he showed me his badge that said he was part of the production, I caved and hoped for the best. Turns out that it was real and I got box tickets for €25.
Thankfully because I had intended to go to the opera, I was properly and formally dressed. But looking at some I felt completely overdressed and then at others completely underdressed. In my biography Hallmark movie, this is where a fairy godmother will appear, take me into one of the very expensive stores down the street and I will wear an elegant ball gown, meet an undercover prince, and fall hopelessly in love. Happily ever after.
The real story: I went to grab some dinner before the show and ate wiener schnitzel (seriously, again with the wiener) and treated myself to two glasses of wine. Then I used the free wifi to look up the plot of Don Pasquale to understand what I would be watching.
I really enjoyed the show and thought it was an amazing cultural experience. They had little screens so I could read what was happening as the actors were singing but since it was in Italian, I could pick up on a little bit of it. I am so happy that I wasn’t scammed and I got to cross something off my bucket list.