The “opera tour” is one of my travel fantasies, although I’ve never quite achieved it. In contrast to rushing from city to city, trying to hit the top five sights of each and fretting that you won’t be able to eat as well as the travel writers, there’s an unmistakable appeal to traveling with a specific purpose in mind. Decisions become simpler, and you know you’ll come away from it with more than a vague dissatisfaction and a dilettante’s appreciation of neoclassical architectural details. However, packaged opera tours are relatively rigid and prohibitively expensive for me.
Hence, Berlin. My plan was to find a cheap-ish vacation apartment and spend the month of May in cafes, attending several concerts and operas every week. I was particularly excited to see Ruggero Raimondi perform as Scarpia at the Deustche Oper Berlin. He has a special place in my heart: my transition from opera appreciator to opera obsessive coincided with my viewing of his 1992 television broadcast of “Tosca in the Settings and at the Times of Tosca”. It would be much classier to say that it was the Maria Callas/de Sabata recording that held that special place in my heart, but I am ready to admit my deficiencies in taste.
Recent developments have upended all my plans, and Berlin will likely have to wait for next year. I hope Ruggero Raimondi doesn’t pick this year to retire.