High Time for High Culture
Back from my long weekend in Paris, I notice that the opera tickets I ordered some time ago have arrived.
Maybe it’s because of the centennial celebrations, but the Tel Aviv Opera has a very strong season this year. I’ve already been to la Traviata in the park, and in April I plan to see Carmen. I’d also like to squeeze Aida, put on by the good people from la Scala in Milan, but we’ll see how much opera one man can take in a year.
On the envelope with the tickets, someone has deemed it fit to put a little image of a clock, together with the text: “Your time is important! At our opera house the performances begin on time”. This is probably a pertinent reminder, since Israelis are notoriously bad at keeping times. I don’t think I’ve attended a single social gathering, meeting or religious service that has begun on time in this country.
Needless to say, this can drive a Swede insane.
Before you start writing talkbacks about how Israelis really aren’t any worse than people in general (maybe Swedes excepted), let me just say to you: yes you are. And I can prove it.
A few years ago, I visited Budapest with a friend and we decided to take a guided tour of the parliament building. On the sign where the tour would begin, it said — in a number of languages — that the visitors should wait at that spot ten minutes before the tour was scheduled to start. The text was identical in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian. Only one language differed. There it said that visitors should wait at the spot 15 minutes before the scheduled start.
And what language was that? Hebrew, of course.