It is likely that most people’s favourite concert experience will be from seeing a classic band. Someone like The Rolling Stones, or Billy Joel, or maybe even the Beatles. The concert experience I had the most memorable time at was something which is more classic than even rock and roll itself: an opera performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
I had never planned on attending the opera. It just never seemed like “my thing.” I grew up on a steady musical diet of electronic dance music and modern American rock music. It just so happened that one evening my sister and her husband had tickets to see a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s 1910 western opera La Fanciulla del West was the same evening a friend of her’s from college was in town. I woke up that morning without ever thinking of attending anything at the world-famous Metropolitan Opera, but as luck would have it by the afternoon I had plans to be in attendance that evening.
Rarely do I get dressed up to go out the same way I prepare for a job interview. I had my best suit and tie on, my date was dressed just as formally, and the rest of the crowd that evening was looking their very best. The popular thought of the opera being a stuffy building of white-haired aristocrats in tuxedos is a poor misconception. There were people of all ages there, including many young adults, and even a good number of children in the crowd. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, it was like a grand party with the very best in entertainment in store for the evening.
The show itself was fantastic. The stages and costumes were incredibly well done, and everything looked like it was taken right out of the California gold rush of the 1800’s and put on a stage in New York in the 2000’s. Since my knowledge of Italian is poor, I had to follow the singing by a small screen that interpreted it for me on the back of the seat in front of me. It did not take anything away from the performance, however. There were many moments where the emotion of the voices would come through in the singing that I wouldn’t even need any interpretation, because I already knew what meaning there was in their words.
It might not be typical for someone in their mid-twenties to find themselves enjoying an opera for the first time like I did. What I took away from it, however, was a great love for something I had little to no interest in before I happened to find myself with tickets for a performance. It is something It is a memory of an evening I will surely hold on to for the rest of my life.