Fun fact: I waited to buy my ticket, hoping to find a friend to accompany me, and when I finally decided to go on my own, tickets were SOLD OUT! I'm totally freaking out, extremely disappointed in myself. Thankfully, some nice woman posted on the event that she was selling her ticket, at a DISCOUNT! Now I totally got lucky on this one. Lesson? Never wait to get something you absolutely want. This also applies to shoes.
Now, I didn't move to Oslo with a ball gown, although I did have my tiara. (Always have your tiara ready.) I ended up finding a dress at H&M, a vintage silver clutch, matching sandals, as well as a very basic, but glittery mask. Who doesn't like a good excuse to dress-up right?
The much-awaited night finally arrives and I'm walking down on Karl Johanns Gate (the equivalent of Sainte-Catherine West in Montreal), heading directly towards the Royal Palace, with my tiara and my rain boots. That got me many confused stares. Although little girls looked at me in awe. No shame in fame.
As I walked inside Universitetes Aula around 6pm, my mouth instantly dropped. People, dressed in different eras, with extravagant masks, everywhere! Feathers, glitters, diamonds, pearls! I can't even!
Gamle Logen is a banquet and concert hall inaugurated in 1839, and seems to be straight out of Pride and Prejudice. The Oslo Symphonic Orchestra played all night in the main hall, while other intimate concerts took place in the smaller rooms. You could waltz, tango, as well as learn historical dances. I tried, not particularly good, except I totally rocked the conga line. It was such a surreal experience!
During the evening, I also joined the singers that performed earlier to congratulate them on their performance, and ended up spending most of the evening with them! Cool factor totally skyrocketed. (Yes, I'm an opera groupie. Again, no shame in fame.) This was probably an advantage of going to this event all by myself; when you're alone, you can do whatever you want. Its the perfect way to meet new people, and to perhaps do things you otherwise wouldn't do if you were accompanied by a friend or a group of people. Not that one is better than the other, but they lead to different experiences. Being that I am new in Oslo, this was ideal for me to make new contacts in the Oslo opera scene. We all took of our masks came midnight, and the event lasted until one in the morning.
I can't help but wonder if such an event would work in Montreal or in Toronto. La Nuit Banque Nationale à l'Opéra, hosted by the Opéra de Montréal, is a fundraising event for young professionals that takes place on the stage of Salle Wilfred-Pelletier, in Place des Arts. Formal evening attire, DJ, open bar, combined with short operatic performances is definitely a recipe for a good party. But what if there was an event that resembed the Oslo OperaBall? Would that not be closer to opera as a whole? The event was accessible to all, and not only price-wise (the OperaBall had student priced tickets at 650NOK, or 100$CDN). By combining an hour-long concert, a torch parade, dancing and costumes, the experience was complete and could easily please as much to die-hard opera lovers than neophytes.