Opera for All

I was interested & excited to learn about recent efforts by the Metropolitan Opera and CityOpera to bring younger audiences to the opera. I like opera—love it—but am not an aficionado. Friends and I used to pile into a Honda and make the drive from New Haven to the Met a couple times a year for $25 nosebleed seats. I dragged my husband to Eugene Onegin in Indianapolis and an amazing production of Dialogue of the Carmelites at Glimmerglass.

Still, I was shocked and thrilled to catch the ad in the Times for CityOpera’s Opera For All performance of Carmen. All seats in the house $25. I got on-line. We got two seats in row D for $50. (Not even $59.95 with "handling fees.") Row D. Amazing. And for Carmen--not just any opera but the opera—happy and sad, dancing and singing, lots of red satin. No elephants, I know, but still, what’s not to like?

In any case, I have two recordings of Carmen on my iPod and listened to them constantly. Then, last Friday, we went to Carmen. Even with the lasting, constant exhaustion of mothering two children under four, the first two acts just flew by. I loved it. My fatigue caught up with me in act three, but still, the sparkles! the fluttering petals! the singing children! Toreadore! En garde!

For all the operas I have attended, for all the Sundays of my girlhood spent with “Sunday Afternoon at the Met” playing in the background on the radio, for the “Bravo Opera!” sticker on my little red wagon, for all the times I saw my father poring over a libretto, this is the very first time I remember just truly loving it, not mostly loving it while sometimes wondering if I had the sophistication to muscle through the performance.

Opera for all indeed. Bravo opera.