Enchanting Afternoon

I was in my 20s the first time I ever went to the opera. Hillary called me and told me that each year for her birthday her parents give her tickets to the opera on the same day as their season tickets. Her mom had to go out of town for business, so they had an extra ticket. Did I want to go? I’m so glad that I had already adopted my Adventure Girl motto of “Why not?”, because it was wonderful! It was The Magic Flute, filled with fun music and gorgeous sets and magical singers! I was hooked.

The following year I moved to England. While there I took in a couple amateur operatic society productions (They really do exist! It isn’t just Hyacinth Bucket who participates in them) and watched So You Want to Be an Opera Star on BBC. The most surreal opera experience while I lived abroad was attending a production of La Boheme at the Berlin Opera house. The hall was gilded and magnificent. As it began, I realized I was watching an opera that takes place in Paris, is sung in Italian, and had German super-titles. I savoured that moment.

Staatsoper unter den Linden
Staatsoper unter den Linden Photo: Marion Schone

Upon returning to the States, I researched opera prices. Holy cow, they are expensive! One year I used my birthday money to be season tickets in the nosebleed section. I chose a weeknight because they were cheaper. (See, I am frugal.) What I hadn’t calculated in was that if they don’t start until 7 pm, they don’t finish until after 10 – way too late for me on a school/work night! I discovered this as I was drifting off in the first one I went to! So, from then on I went and left at the first intermission. I didn’t mind that as option as I quickly discovered that leaving at the break meant I saw a dramatically different performance than anyone else: La Boheme is a romantic comedy if you leave at that point!

My take away from that season was to cough up a few more extra dollars to get the Sunday matinee. I haven’t gone every season, but I’m back in the flow now and loving it!

If you had told me growing up that I would be an opera season ticket holder, I would have told you you were crazy! Now it is a great love.

The final opera of the season was yesterday. It was The Barber of Seville. When I first saw it on the line up, the only memories I had associated with it was a Little Rascals episode! I’ve since fallen in love with the score. Such fun! And I must admit I do feel so grown up telling people I’m going to the opera! Unfortunately, I was out of town and had previous engagements the other nights it was being performed. But, the world has come full circle as I offered the ticket to a friend who had never been to the opera before. That made me feel good.

What activities make you feel grown up? Or what have been some of your surreal travel memories? Any other opera fans out there?

2 thoughts on “Enchanting Afternoon”

  1. It’s like that scene from Pretty Women where Julia Roberts goes to the opera for the first time and cries her eyes out, she’s so moved. That’s how I picture you at the opera – sans the red dress and pearls or diamonds. I cry at the opera too – except because I want to leave. I just don’t get opera. I love classical music. My husband hates it. He loves country music. It makes me cringe. Different things resonate with different people. Love that you stumbled onto a classical form that touches your soul. Oh – and I love Broadway musicals. I break out in song over just about anything. Like a couple mornings ago when it was the first of May and my husband said, “It’s May,” when I walked into the kitchen. If you know Camelot – you can guess what I started singing. Can’t help it. He just rolls his eyes.

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    1. We aren’t the same person! You tried it and didn’t like it. Good for you! Differences are what make the world interesting. There are many things that I simply don’t “get”, but others enjoy them, so how wonderful that all these options exist.

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