My parents-in-law make sure that I know about the cool stuff happening in Ann Arbor (like this). Each year they get tickets to a handful of University Musical Society (UMS) shows and invite me and Andy to a few of them. Last weekend the Lyon Opera Ballet came to town to perform Cendrillon (Cinderella). I was especially excited for this show because I had tried to get us tickets to the Lyon Opera Ballet while we were in Lyon for our honeymoon but there weren't any performances for the three days that we were there. It is so great to live in a city where international performances come to us!
Andy met me downtown after work to get a drink at one of our favorite spots, Aventura, before we met with the rest of the family for dinner at Knight's. It was unexpectedly sunny outside, though chilly in the shade, so we basically had Aventura's whole patio to ourselves. We scooped up the only sunny spot and basked in the warmth. I ordered something unmemorable with Tito's and cucumber but Andy wisely ordered the La Rambla cocktail, my usual go to. It is Bulleit bourbon, cynar, punt e mes (fav sweet vermouth!), orange bitters and angostura rinse. I did not take a picture of La Rambla, but it looks like a Manhattan. The glass of water on the other hand was looking rather photogenic!
Green sprouts a.k.a. signs of life! Yay, Summer!
We made it to Knights before everyone else, ordered round two and sneaked in a quick selfie. I ordered the Maize & Blue, which is essentially a vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives, sans vermouth. If it isn't obvious by now, I like a stiff drink HA!
This kid though. He is growing up so fast! He loves to eat and he was thrilled when his grilled cheese and applesauce arrived. I love his funny faces!
Speaking of the Barcelona Seven, one of the first times we captured this funny face was in Barcelona when Daniel was 10 months!
Back to the other exciting part about dinner at Knight's - the food! As I've mentioned before, Andy aren't big on eating beef so he ordered the Chicken Scallopini (tasty) and I ordered the same thing I always order here...
...the Black and Bleu Pork Chops with a side of potatoes au gratin. YUMMY!!!
This dish is heaven. The pork chops are tender and juicy (not an easy thing to master but I'll teach you my tricks some time!) and the potatoes are flavorful and the perfect combination of mashed with a bit of crunch. And it is a huge portion so you better believe Andy and I shared this for lunch on Saturday.
After dinner, the younger boys went home and the patriarch took the ladies to the ballet. We skipped around the corner to the Power Center and excitedly waited for the show to start!
With our pocket chocolate at the ready, the ballet began!
The dancers wore chubby-faced masks and padded costumes to look more doll-like. This wasn't your classical ballet by any means as the dancers movements must have been somewhat limited by their garb, although you couldn't tell. Lots of flexed feet and right-angles. The music told quite a story, intertwined with baby gurgles and coo's at times, it was dreamlike, as if the dancers were toys in wind-up music box . You could tell it was based off of the Cinderella story line - the ballerina who played Cinderella was first dancing with a broom and later she was the belle of the ball after a visit from her fairy godmother who was some sort of alien from a suitcase; she had an awful stepmother and bullying stepsisters (in the final scene the stepmother sits on Cinderella to prevent the prince from seeing her) and of course the prince who road from town to town (on a rocking horse!) trying to match the slipper with its owner. Mirrors, smoke and flashing lights paired with talented performers and contemporary choreography - it was a unique and fanciful experience indeed!
They had a Q&A session after the 90 minute performance and we found out that they were wearing the masks from original show from around 1984 which is pretty incredible. The masks don't really fit their faces and there are only two small eye holes and two small holes to breath through their nostrils - it sounded really uncomfortable! Yet the dancers looked perfectly comfortable to me. It was impressive how the dancers could convey emotions through a tilted head or a waving hand while wearing a frozen facial expression in a hot mask!
Photography wasn't allowed for obvious reasons so I only took a few shots at the very end when the dancers were taking their bows and taking off their masks.
This is the 4th time since 1999 that Lyon Opera Ballet has performed at UMS so I doubt that this will be the last. You can see a few more photos on the UMS website here.
I loved this show, thank you Lesli & Andy for taking me! BPILIWW <3