Rigoletto

Rigoletto tonight in Santa Fe.

It’s a hot summer day here and in Santa Fe where we are headed for a performance of Rigoletto. We do this about 3 times every summer. Drive to Santa Fe, meet our opera-going friends at their house and drive to the theater together. We have a tradition of a tailgate picnic in the parking lot. The last few years, we have indulged in the gourmet picnics offered through the opera, so we sit in the parking lot with a table cloth covered card table, sipping a chilled glass of wine and eating a wonderful picnic meal. There is a lecture about the opera at 7–always worth attending even if you know the opera, and then the performance begins at 8.

Rigoletto seems to have come out of the same nineteenth century tradition that produced melodramas in the American west. It is almost comically tragic. The tragic end occurs in the midst of a raging storm. One of the interesting things about the Santa Fe theater is that it is partly open. You can see through the stage to the mountains to the west. And, although it is currently very hot, there is a strong possibility that there will be a thunder storm around 10 pm, just when it would be needed in the plot.

Whether the natural storm materializes or not, there will be raging and storm clouds in the theater, and it will be a great entertainment.

Rain

There has been a lot of rain in the news lately. In the eastern part of the country mention of rain, I would imagine, elicits groans. I was in Texas recently while they were entering their transition, in true Texas fashion, from big drought to big floods. That is one way to end a drought, but possibly not the best way.

Despite all of that, rain is still welcome news in the desert southwest. Last night we had (at my house–storm cells are very small here) between 3/4 inch and 1 inch. That was very good. That it arrived in little more than 30 minutes, not so good. I know that easterners, and now, Texans will pooh pooh that as being a trivial amount, as it is to them. But, not to us. It arrived and we are grateful for that.

I’ve never gotten used to the idea, but we have a monsoon season here. Every year there is a monsoonal flow from the Gulf of Mexico and from Baja California. The humidity in the air goes way up, and the heating during the day produces clouds and rain by late afternoon. Just when you think you can’t stand the heat any longer, a cloud forms and the temperature drops 10 degrees. A little rain, or maybe a lot, and it drops 10 more degrees. The temperature often stays down and the clouds hang around until sunset producing sunsets of amazing beauty.2010-07-15 20.32.50Part of the beauty of the sunset is its silence. The silence is a welcome relief from the noise and violence of the wind and rain, which was itself a relief from the oppression of the heat. It is as if God is helping you compose yourself for the sleep that is to come.