1. I went into the city yesterday to have brunch with some friends from my Galapagos trip and to see a new opera called Piazza Navona.
Brunch was delicious. I may forever need to eat eggs benedict on cheddar-jalapeño biscuits. And chipotle hollandaise is a beautiful thing.
2. I remember the actual Piazza Navona, though I haven’t been there in ten years. It’s in Rome, right near the apartment where my brother spent a lovely semester as a college junior. I visited him there, and I remember walking through the piazza many times on my way to the bakery tucked in one corner. I also remember how delicious the food was on that trip. There seems to be a theme here.
3. When I go to a new opera, I generally expect to see something with edges. I expect to hear some dissonance, see some angst, and have my thoughts provoked.
Yesterday, I settled into my seat on the train and started reading the libretto to Piazza Navona, which the composer had kindly sent me. And I couldn’t believe how fluffy it was: a totally improbable romantic comedy of errors.
Having just read Bill Buford’s Heat, in which he wrote about his experience in numerous Italian restaurant kitchens, I found myself thinking, “But they’d never promote him to executive chef after he’s then cooked all of one meal!” And why was this character the brother of that one? Totally gratuitous. And why do characters talk about falling in love when they’ve just met someone? Come on, that never works. The whole thing seemed like a romanticized, Eat Pray Love vision of Rome. So that was the attitude I walked into the theater with.
Fortunately, the production itself made this fluffernutter rather enjoyable. Here’s my review at Parterre.
4. Since they’d cut the three-act opera down to 75 continuous minutes, I spent more time eating than I did at the opera. I’m not sure I like what that implies about me.
But my meal was almost as memorable as the opera, and the opera was partly about memorable food, and all in all the day was lovely.