By Antoine KInch
On February 8th, 2016 my parents celebrated their 41st wedding Anniversary. We spoke with them after we returned from our honeymoon and it became apparent that although they lived in New York for over 40 years they had never been to the Opera! So, we decided that we would come to New York and take them to see "Il Trovatore" at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, one of the world's top rated opera houses. I know that listening to people sing in a foreign language like Italian is not the most desirable experience (especially if you do not speak it!). But I find that going to the Opera is more than just the music. It is an experience. The art is found in the mélange or blend of the conductor, the orchestra, the stage performers, and the singers.
When I was very young I remember being cast in a play called "Hats for Sale". Even at 6 years old I recognized the gratification I got from being on stage, reciting my lines and receiving applause from the audience. In junior high and high school I also participated in many theatrical performances. I starred as the scarecrow in my high school rendition of "The Wiz" and played"Walter" in the drama club's performance of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun". I also played the string bass with our orchestra. This was when public schools still had free art and music programs! By my junior and senior year I got to perform with the Brooklyn Philharmonic orchestra. I credit these experiences with shaping who I am today and my love of the arts.
We dined at The Smith before we walked across the street to Lincoln Center. I used OpenTable to make the reservation and left notes that it was my parents 41st anniversary. We laughed and joked that the lesson we learned from Sydney was to NOT DRINK ANY ALCOHOL before the opera because it would make you sleepy.
At first we weren't sure if the Opera was going to be able to take place. The head of the theatre came out on stage and said that they were having issues with the turntable (that rotates the stage) so they were going to work on it and turned on the houselights for 20 minutes. Luckily, they were able to fix the problem and the Opera continued. It was wonderful. As I have tried to learn the Opera and recognize the differences between Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Pucchini as composers, we all looked at each other because we found ourselves in harmony as we hummed along to the Anvil Chorus. We knew that we had heard it before and it had that obvious familiarity like: Wow, I have heard that before. I don't know where but I have! I think after that it made the opera that much more fun for us all.
We exhaled at intermission, discussed how good the sound was on the balcony and looked forward to the final two acts of the play. On the drive home, the smiles all around, laughs and happiness expressed by everyone let me know that this trip was a success. The next day we would fly away from my parents. Until the next time we get to enjoy their company. It cannot come soon enough. My parents have become two of my best friends and I appreciate them even more now!