Florence III: Opening Night

New Generation Festival- Night I


I choose to get my outfit ready for tonight’s festival prior to taking a nap and while ironing my dress for the occasion I find that a corner of one of my straps is loosening. I am forced to dig up a safety pin since I don’t have a sewing kit at hand.

After several failed attempts, I am finally able to “stitch” it together and complete the ironing task. I hang the dress up before diving under the covers, and after my much needed nap getting ready is a breeze.

When I arrive at the Corsini Gardens for the opening night of the New Generation Festival, I get my ticket and program then find my way to a bench.

Once seating for the event opens, I join the crowd, find my seat, then meet the first person for the night. His name is Stewart and he is there to review the opera. The first half of the opera, Don Giovanni, seems a little too long but I find it as a whole to be okay.

During intermission, I make my way to the picnic area but I cannot ascertain where people are getting their food from. I see two guys passing by with trays and ask them to redirect me. They point the area out, I thank them, then head there.

The line for the food is a bit long but the wait isn’t too bad. I get pasta and tiramisu and grab water before heading out to look for a place to sit. I find a table where a girl with a blue or green dress is seated and ask if the seat opposite her is taken. She tells me that a little boy might have been sitting there but she isn’t too sure.  I look at the chair and see that there is a bag holding the spot so I resign myself to continuing the search for an open spot.

Just as I am turning around to look for other tables, the girl stops me and says, “You can sit on the end. Just pull up a chair.” Taking heed of her words, I place my tray on the table and turn to scan the area for available chairs. I spot the men who had directed me to the food station earlier seated at one of the tables nearby and notice that there is an empty seat at their table. Thankfully, after asking if the chair is free, they encourage me to go ahead and take it by chanting  “DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!” effusively.

Once pulled up at the table where my tray is waiting for me, the girl introduces herself as Alice and tells me that she had attended the festival last year and a lot has changed this year in terms of size and setup. She is an admirer of opera and had found out about the festival in London from the director of the event. Her boyfriend, Tom, is in line getting them food but he soon joins us. He is nice. He knows about the Baltimore Ravens and he tells me that his grandfather was American. They are both amazing and we have a great conversation.

At some point an older lady comes and sits in the chair that the bag occupies. She is holding an ice cream cone in one hand and she asks us if we are interested in getting a Jaguar (Jaguar is a sponsor of the festival and some models are on display in the gardens). She eventually asks me where I’m from and as we’re talking Alice and Tom excuse themselves from the table to find the director and enjoy a stroll in the gardens. I have a little moment of contemplation as I finish my water and Juliette invites me to join her and her two friends, Michael and Mary, who are also sitting at our table, to check out the cars.

Juliette is really a force. She is wearing a long red dress and walks with purpose and determination. When we get to the cars however, a young girl comes running and rings a bell and announcing that the show will resume soon.

Juliette and I walk to the seated stands together and I thank her for inviting me to look at the cars with her friends. She lets me know that she’ll be here for tomorrow’s performance and looks forward to seeing me again.





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