Gas station without pumps

2022 June 1

Secret Walks: Quarry Amphitheater

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:16
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On Saturday 28 May 2022, my wife and I walked up to the Quarry Amphitheater to see UCSC Opera’s performance of Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy Queen. We walked rather up than taking the bus, both to get more exercise and because SCMTD had sent out warning email that they were short-staffed over Memorial Day weekend, and some buses might not run.  We did not want to risk missing the performance. We planned to walk up Bay, take the Great Meadow bike/pedestrian path to the Music Recital Hall, have a picnic dinner there, then walk over to the amphitheater.

I did not take a camera with me, so as not to delay us, but even so we ran a bit behind our original schedule, so instead of walking all the way up the bike/pedestrian path across the Great Meadow, we cut through the Village and went up the stairs to Hagar (there is a photo of those stairs in the Seven Bridges post).  The stairs would make a good daily exercise for anyone living in the Village, as there are almost 100 steps.  I wonder whether these are the longest outdoor stairs in the city or even the county.  We got to the amphitheater before the house opened (they opened a bit late) and had our picnic dinner in the amphitheater.

The semi-opera itself was enjoyable, though I could not make out many of the words of the songs (I hadn’t expected to).  Some of the acting was good (e.g., Bottom) and some execrable (e.g., Oberon).  I can’t judge the singing, but my wife said that some of the singers were good, but some really lacked breath control.  She thought that the choir was good.

The costumes were ok, though some were really not well thought out for an outdoor evening performance—some of the fairies must have been freezing. It might have been good to use some EL wire to make the fairies robes more impressive at night—particularly Oberon’s and Titania’s. There seemed to be some technical problems with the lighting, with random red flashes that seemed to bear no relationship to anything on stage.  The sound engineering was only ok—they had trouble sometimes balancing the singers’ mics.

We had planned to take the bus back, but because the performance had started late, we got out just as the hourly bus left.  We decided to walk home, rather than waiting for another bus.  We could have shaved off quite a bit of walking by taking a loop bus to the base of campus, but the first campus bus we saw was only going to the East Remote parking lot, and we weren’t sure whether there were any loop buses.  (It turned out there were, as they passed us as we walked down Hagar.) We went past the Women’s Center and down Cardiff Path and Cardiff Lane to Iowa Drive, Archer Drive, Fridley Drive, Moore, and Laurent.

We ended up walking a total of about 5.4 miles—not a long walk, but rather slow, as my wife does not like walking fast in the dark.

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