Friday, April 16, 2010
Your First Time
In talking with them, I've been reminded of my first time at the Metropolitan Opera. My friend Beth was visiting from Austin in January 2004. It was the coldest it had been in New York City since Grover Cleveland was president - almost 20 below! Therefore, we were desperate for inside entertainment.
We had been to see Bernadette Peters in Gypsy (and you know what that set off), but we also decided to see an opera. Beth was already an opera fan and attended the Austin Lyric Opera. I had already become a fan of Renée Fleming from watching her on PBS and Ovation, but had yet to take in an actual opera. I thought it would be too expensive, too fancy - it seemed out of my reach. My only exposure to the Metropolitan Opera was via Cher and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck so naturally I thought I also needed to get all dressed up for a date with a dude with a one hand and bedroom eyes. (Well, not really, but if you're a dude with one hand or two and you have bedroom eyes, feel free to call me.)
So, we were watching Renée's Chatalet concert on Ovation when the subject came up. I consulted Time Out New York and found out that Rigoletto (Armiliato; Pons, Nioradze, Rost, Flores, Lopardo)
was on and that it was actually affordable so we bought our tickets over the phone. We fretted a bit on what to wear - since Beth was visiting she didn't pack evening wear, plus like I mentioned, it was almost 20 below zero outside! We dressed in black jeans and of course, because it's New York City and the Met, it matters not what you wear for a Night at the Opera.
We settled in to our balcony box and I don't believe I took a breath for the next four hours. From the moment the chandeliers rose to the ceiling to the very last minute of the curtain call I was mesmerized. It was simply the most magical evening I had ever spent in a theatre. I was like a kid in a candy shop - I simply couldn't believe my eyes and ears.
Two nights later, I went back alone for Madama Butterfly (Armiliato; Bunnell, Villarroel, Berti, Caproni) and I sat in the very last row of the Family Circle. I was so enthralled by the drama and music, I forgot to look at the translated words on the Met titles screen in front of my seat.
So today, I emailed Kyle to remind him not to forget to look up to see the chandeliers rising to the gold ceiling. I wish I could be there just to witness his face - and that of Ashley and Glenda's too next week - on this magical night. There's just nothing like fulfilling a dream - or your first time.
By now, I've been many times and plan to go many more and yet, the magical feeling of walking up the steps at Lincoln Center, seeing the fountain, entering into the shrine of the Metropolitan Opera house never, ever gets old. The anticipation of going again and hearing heart stopping performances is always with me. Coincidentally, Beth is arriving Monday for her annual trip to New York - fortunately the weather isn't quite so frigid and as luck will have it, we'll also be seeing Renée Fleming in Armida.
I'd love for you let me know about your first time at the Met Opera - or any opera house or theatre - in the comments section below.