My school's music teacher organized a trip to the Helsinki Opera house to see the Opera "Carmen". It was open for anyone in the school to go, though only about 16 people were on the trip. The whole night cost 45 Euros and it was well worth the trip!
We all met outside the school at 4 pm. Some people dressed up. Most of the girls wore heels. Of course seeing as I had to Fit everything that I own into a suitcase I didn't bring a dress that I would use only once or twice. And I didn't have time or money to go out and buy one just for this occasion. Plus it wasn't required that we dress up. The guys wore blazers and/or ties. I just wore an outfit that I would where to school on the average day. This is fancy enough for the opera because girls dress for school like they are going to an opera, not all of them, but there is a much greater presence of fashion in school here than in the US. But I will have more on that later. Also I didn't have more fancy shoes than my converse, but it didn't really matter. I felt pretty dressed up, because I was, for US standards that is.
We then boarded our private tour bus for the evening. The tour bus was one of the best parts of the trip, I must say. We had our very own private VIP, mercedes, tour bus. It could fit about twenty-five to thirty people, I am guessing and we were about 16, So it was nice and roomy. The seats were much bigger than a regular bus would be, and many of them were around tables like they would be in a train. And the enitre back half of the bus were seats gathered around two tables. We sat in the back. There were also big TV screens throughout the bus that showed out the front of the bus. It was really cool. Though I think that the bus was most of the money that we paid. Because we paid 45 euros and the tickets cost 26....but it was pretty awesome!
Here is the inside of the bus, from the very back
The bus was very cool. The drive to Helsinki is like 2 and a half hours, so we had plenty of time on the bus, we talked, played some games and talked some more. The bus ride was really fun. We also stopped at a little cafe by the road which is like a rest stop.
Here is all of us at the rest stop.
The rest stop was called Ykköspesä, which is like 1st base in finnish baseball.
So then we continued on our journey to Helsinki. By the time that we got to Helsinki it was already dark. As it gets dark at like 6:30 here. As soon as we arrived in Helsinki and the Opera house we went inside. We didn't really do any sightseeing at all, which was fine because I had seen some on Friday.
The Helsinki Opera house reminded me a lot of The Denver Center of Performing Arts and Buell Theater. It was really a modern building. Just the way you would picture an opera house. There were lots of information on the walls about past operas and some costumes from past operas. There were also many tables where groups of people reserved to have their dinner ready when they got there and then their dessert sitting out for them as soon as there was intermission. There was also some modern art and some murals. It was a very nice building. It was fun to go around it see some of the stuff.
Here is the Opera house from the outside
Inside the Opera house
Pretty awesome picture on the wall
Inside the opera hall
Some costumes that they had on display, I wonder if they did an opera that was written by Lady Gaga...
Again inside the house
Here is some of us
The opera itself was Carmen, and my host dad told me afterwards that it is one of the best. It is about a gypsy girl, Carmen, who makes a soldier fall in love with her, then he joins her group of smugglers and but feels like he is distrustful, and then when he hears that his mother is sick, he leaves and then when he comes back, Carmen already has a new man and refuses to take the soldier back. So the solider ends up killing her. Back when it had it's first premiere in Spain in like, the 18th century, it was not liked so much because in past operas the main characters were often about royalty and then this was the first one who had a low life gypsy girl be the main character, and that is why people didn't like it.
It was sung in french and there was subtitles in Swedish, Finnish and (thank god) English. I have taken a year of french, and it doesn't do me quite well, especially around anyone who speaks french. But I did recognize a word here and there, like cherche (look for) and oui (yes) and of course probably the most common word in the show amour (Love) but really it didn't even sound like french...it sounded like Opera, basically just people wailing, if I didn't know that they were speaking french I would have guessed that it was some language that was only spoken in Operas. Something else that was really cool about this specific opera was that it was also translated into Sign Language. So there was a lady on the stage that was signing everything that was happening. I didn't look at her too much, because I was mostly focused on reading the subtitles and watching the opera. But it was cool because she even signed the music that was played by the orchestra. We thought that because this specific show was signed, that there must be a bunch of people here who need it or something. It was really cool though.
The set of the opera was also very cool. The used a lot of real things (including fire!) like trucks and bicycles because the stage was huge. Probably the size of half the size of a high school gym.
After the show ended we went back to the bus and we went to Hesburger. I may have mentioned Hesburger before but in case I haven't, it is like finnish McDonald's. McDonald's exists in Finland as well, but Hesburger is very finnish. And also the founder of Hesburger lives in Turku so there are only Hesbuger in Turku, maybe like two McDonald's in the entire city, so it is weird driving through Helsinki and actually seeing McDonald's! Hesbuger is also much much better than McDonald's also....So we were all excited for Hesburger after because we didn't each that much other than the rest stop on the way, I had brought some bread and some cake for the ride there but I was also excited for Dinner. But everyone was excited for food, because the opera was quite long and it was like 10:30 when it was over,. And Jackie, from Australia was very excited because she was getting a Mega Meal and I stood next to her in line and she was excited! Haha, I also got the Mega Meal and it was defiantly big! I could barely hold it and not to mention that I got Hesburger's special sauce all over my face and went through a few napkins.
This is a Hesburger, not from this trip, This one is in Turku, but just so you know
The ride back was not as awake as the ride there. Most of us sat there in the darkness and listened to music. Every seat had their own light like an airplane! But we all turned them off because it was 11:30 when we left Helsinki and 1 am when we got to Turku. When we were waiting to be picked up one of the girls who went was like "It is so weird to be outside of our school at 1 am!" haha, and that was true, but I wasn't really thinking about it.
We were tired
VIP buses are A-mazing!