Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Night at the Opera

I'd been reading in the newspaper for months that the Metropolitan Opera has weekly drawings for $25 tickets. About a month ago I decided to give it a shot.

You enter the drawing online each Monday, winners are notified Tuesday, and they have until Wednesday to purchase up to two tickets.

No luck. The next week, no luck. It was my third or fourth try when I finally found success: two Saturday night tickets to the Italian comedic opera L'Elisir d'Amore (Elixir of Love) at Lincoln Center for $50 flat.

My experiences with opera have been mixed. I saw the Marriage of Figaro performed in Toledo with my high school German classmates 10 or 11 years ago. I remember enjoying it. My second and only other opera was not as successful. We had just taken an overnight train from Munich to Berlin, Germany, and snagged some cheap seats to The Magic Flute for that night. I was exhausted, we could only see a corner of the stage, and despite my best efforts, I fell asleep.

Last night was much better. We had orchestra seats, about four rows from the back on the main floor. I saw a couple of people with binoculars, but it wasn't a bad view at all. The scenery was just as lovely as the singing, but since I'm no connoisseur I expected nothing less.

My main reason for wanting to attend the opera was simply for the experience. It didn't disappoint.

I had an idea that the women would be dressed to the nines. There were just as many formal dresses as there were jeans. That is, a few but not many. I wore black pants and a nice shirt and felt completely comfortable. Paul wore a suit, as did most men in attendance.

The opera itself was quite entertaining, as was the subtitle system. Each person had access to subtitles on the back of the seat in front of them, and they could be set to English, Spanish or German.

The juxtaposition of the Italian poetry on stage and the blunt English on screen was a little jarring at first, but I soon became accustomed to it. During the second act I even turned on the German titles to see how much I could follow. I knew more than I suspected, and I compensated by peaking at the English subtitles in the row in front of me when needed.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience that I would gladly repeat. That's one thing checked off of my New York to-do list. Now only about 999 more things to go ...

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