We start lining up for the opera at 4pm, which is apparently the latest we should get there in order to secure a standing ticket.
At first we are sitting crouched in the shade outside – the sun is scorching. At about 5:30pm they let us inside to wait in more lines. Three guys from the hostel have joined us and we all loll in the heat together, exchanging stories of travel and life back home.
Three and half hours after we slid into line, we spill into the standing area and somehow I manage to get a spot in the front row, directly in the centre. It has to be the best ‘seat’ in the house. My view of the stage is magnificently unimpeded.
I am a little mystified when Juliet first emerges clad in tight black singlet and trousers with big shiny necklaces looped around her neck. She looks a little more like an exotic dancer than a blushing fourteen year old. However, I am quickly spellbound. Juliet has an exquisite voice and she is beautifully matched with Romeo.
The staging is wonderful and brilliant use is made of a semi-circular panel which lights up and rises in an angle from the stage. Early on in the opera blood red rose petals are poured from the ceiling and they rest on the lighted panel like heart-shaped droplets of blood. It may not surprise anyone to hear that I cried at the end.
Three hours standing seems to rush by and then we are clapping and clapping for eight returns to stage. And who is getting the most applause, why the conductor of course – Placido Domingo, just casually.