Opera obstacle course

Austin Lyric OperaIt’s tough to get there these days, according to the local daily (“Weekend events overwhelm Palmer Events Center parking,” byline Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, April 22), tougher than it used to be to reach the Bass Concert Hall on campus, even though this location is closer for many. We used to eat downtown, ride the bus up the hill part of the way and walk part of the way, and then take the bus home. The only bad thing that could happen would be that a performance would run long, so that buses were off the streets, but then it was easy to walk to a downtown cab stand and catch a ride the rest of the way.

Last week, charter buses and vehicles of all sorts were delayed in reaching the new Long Center or could find no nearby parking and were very late to the Sunday matinee performance of Carmen.

ALO’s general manager fired off an e-mail blast today, declaring to ticketholders that this weekend it will be different:

I would like to assure our Thursday and Saturday night Carmen ticket holders that they will not encounter such parking difficulties. On Thursday evening there is a performance at Rollins Theater which holds 250. On Saturday there is a City Wide Garage Sale from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and the University of Phoenix Graduation Ceremony from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Palmer Events Center but both will be finished well before our 7:30 curtains.

I confess, though, that I’m suspicious, since in that same e-mail people are advised to arrive an hour early. If gridlock occurs, cabs won’t help, and it’s frightening crossing the streets around there on foot. It’s so near, and yet so far. We’re still considering the logistics.

Carmen is one of the operas most often suggested for beginners (La Traviata, Tosca, and The Elixir of Love are some others; people will argue for hours over this question). The last performance of Carmen that I attended was the wonderful event staged in the Austin Coliseum, now demolished. Even sitting on bleachers didn’t diminish the pleasure. Last-minute tickets are often available at the box office. Like it or not, the melodies from Carmen are unforgettable and you will hear people humming them as they leave the show.

5 Comments so far

  1. tthomas48 on April 24th, 2008 @ 10:11 am

    If they could get the proposed light rail to extend over to the Long Center that would help immensely. Although people not going to the opera should take heart. We went to see the Rude Mechanical’s Method Gun, and there was plenty of parking, and not a traffic snarl in sight.


  2. odoublegood on April 24th, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    In the meantime, a seven-day-a-week route running from Pleasant Valley over to Zilker or at least to Zach Scott, whether a ‘Dillo or an extension of the bus routes that customarily run on Riverside, would be most helpful, if only to carry pedestrians over the worst intersections (and anyone who walks or rides a bike knows what I’m talking about).

    That proposal for running a fixed-route transit line from downtown across the Congress bridge and out to Bergstrom should be examined very carefully. There’s talk of a separate bridge for pedestrians, which would really spoil one of the great experiences of Austin, the meet-and-greet and walk with other pedestrians over the bridge. I know that lots of people don’t feel safe walking alone on the other pedestrian-only bridge over the river.

    Anyhow, we’re still working on logistics for approaching the Long Center and leaving it. We really don’t want to deal with parking garages.


  3. tthomas48 on April 24th, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the Lamar bridge, but I don’t think that’s there plan. I think they’re planning on doing a bridge like at South 1st. I love that bridge. I really don’t understand how it would spoil the meet and greet. It’s not like you can(should) run across the street to talk to people. A pedestrian bridge like on South 1st would give you the beauty of looking out at the lake without it being spoiled by feeling like at any moment you could get hit by a car. I can’t deny there’s tradition with the Congress bridge, and I have fond memories of it the way it is. But I don’t think that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as nice with a pedestrian only bridge.


  4. odoublegood on April 24th, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    No; I’m referring to the Congress bridge (and just to the feeling of walking in company–on the same side of the street–with others):
    "The tracks, McCracken said, might take two lanes from the bridge over Lady Bird Lake, he said, although alternatively it could use the space now taken up by sidewalks. In that case, a sidewalk alternative bridge, such as the one on the South First Street bridge, would continue pedestrian and bicycle access across the lake on Congress."
    That’s a quote from the April 23 article in the local daily:
    http://www.statesman.com/search/content/news/stories/local/04/23/0423rail.html
    The Congress bridge has been widened at least a couple of times within living memory. There was a time when the traffic signals were switched to make it easier to get downtown in the morning and easier to head south in the evening.


  5. Street Closure Mania | Austin Metblogs (pingback) on April 26th, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    […] weekend saw much reported┬áproblems for people trying to get to the Long […]



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