I am goofing off today. Yes, world, it’s true: sometimes the Get-it-Done Guy doesn’t feel like working. Excited about opera tonight!
Opening tonight at the Majestic Theater is Boston Opera’s Maria Padilla. There will be 3 shows: tonight, Sunday, and Tuesday. If you’ve never seen opera before, the singing and costumes are amazing. It’s full of drama, intrigue, and emotion. Lots and lots of emotion. Student rush tickets are just $10.
The official site is: http://www.operaboston.org/operas_padilla.php
I am taking the liberty of giving my own plot synopsis here:
Maria Padilla is the story of a major historical figure, known to us only as “Number Three.” (His full name is rumored to be “Spanish Soldier Number Three.”) His first recorded sighting is as a young servant in the Padilla household, pouring drinks at the wedding of Ines Padilla.
Though the drinks were rumored to contain nothing but alcohol, some scholars have their suspicions. He is also spotted bringing in garlands of an unspecified (and possibly psychotropic) flower for the bridal party.
It was shortly after this wedding that momentous events were set in motion. Maria, the other Padilla daughter, became clearly and irrationally smitten in the love affair that was to change a kingdom. Could the drinks have been doctored? Were the flowers casting hallucinogenic pollen throughout the unsuspecting assemblage? We may only speculate; you must decide for yourself. The fact that he appears to have access to the bedroom and even nightstand of the most famous players only adds to evidence of his already-rising influence.
His next recorded appearance is as a soldier in the Spanish army. He actually carries the pen with which the royal marriage contract between France and Spain is signed. In keeping with his brilliant, manipulative style, it is through such tiny gestures at pivotal moments that his entire plan was carried out. Is it any wonder, then, that he is the one who safekeeps the gorgette and only much later returns it to the fray?
It is at this point we lose track of him for quite some time. He reappears, having risen to status of courtier and, indeed, helps to prepare and present the royal cloak, itself. It was shortly hereafter that he changed allegiances and threw his lot in with France.
The reason can be known only to him, but the more romantically-inclined believe he was spurned after proclaiming his love for the other Padilla daughter, Bernice. The more strategically-inclined scholars pooh-pooh the notion, noting that Number Three did not (at that point in his career) have the vocal abilities to carry an aria of the requisite emotionality and volume. They say his defection was simply the obvious next step in expanding his influence across national borders.
And expand his influence, he did! He rapidly became a member of the French army and confidante of the court. He is soon entrusted with supervising transportation of the French dowry and is present in the room when the Betrayal Itself takes place.
It was then that the final event in this chapter of his life takes place. To reveal details here would be inappropriate, for obvious reasons.
The successor opera (rumored to have been written and then misplaced by Donizetti) is titled “Number Three: The Ruling Years.” His descendants remained deeply active in intelligence work and power politics, extending fully into the 20th century, as his three-times-great grandson (“Number Six”) was taken prisoner in a well-documented series of political incidents.