Friday, April 30, 2010

A Night at the Opera

Even die hard fans of holes-in-the-wall and dive bars need a little culture now and then. So I went to the opera this week.

Actually, I'm a huge opera fan. I went to about a dozen performances last season- this year has been slow and I've only been to three. I feel guilty about it because I'm such a nerd.

Quality over quantity. For all of you out there, opera fans or not, you simply must put a visit to the Metropolitan Opera on your list of things you need to do. It is one of the most incredible opera houses in the world (renowned for its elaborate set design and effects) and every production is fantastic. Acoustically speaking, there isn't a bad seat in the house and the cheap seats are only 20 bucks. Last year, they were $15, a little more than the price of a movie ticket.

I was lucky enough to snag an affordable ticket to Bizet's Carmen about 5 months ago. Some productions sell out almost immediately, and Carmen is one of the most popular operas out there. The music is easy to recognize and the storyline has a bit more complexity than the usual couple-fall-in-love-at-first-site formula. I highly recommend it as a gateway opera for first timers. Other great operas for those new to the scene:

-I Pagliacci/Caverilla Rusticana (both are short and usually performed together)
-The Barber of Seville
-La Boheme
-Madame Butterfly
-La Traviata
-anything by Mozart

I wouldn't recommend delving into modern 20th Century, Wagner, or atonal operas until you become a fan. Wonderful as it is, opera is an acquired taste.

If you are a music or architecture lover, it is well worth a visit for the venue and Swarovski crystal light fixtures- I'm going to get a couple for a my next apartment.

Thanks to the emotionally-charged soldiers, bullfighters, and cigarette-smoking hussies for inspiring such a passionate Wednesday night.

Love, the girl in the cheap seats.


  1. I envy you. Carmen is a wonderful piece. My parents had a tape recording of an english version, done by a negro cast, with Harry Belafonte as the male lead. The "bad boy" was a boxer rather than a bullfighter. I can still hear the music in my head when I think about it. If the old movie, with Dorothy Dandridge, is on netflix, it would be worth seeing.

  2. Let's agree that Jay, Ben, and I, will come to New York to go to the opera with Sydney. I have not been an opera fan, but I believe I would love the Met, especially under the tutelage of an aficionado. I also love New York, but have only spent two days day at a New York Times conference, and one afternoon with a friend taking me from one end of Manhattan to the other (Central Park to ground zero) in five hours. Too little, but I was nonetheless moved by it all.