Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Teenage Son Likes Opera

Last fall, I received an email about some dress rehearsal performances coming up at the Detroit Opera House. We were offered the opportunity to get tickets for these performances for $10 each. I asked my kids about them and my then-17-year-old son said he was interested in attending some of the operas.

"Really?" I questioned. "You want to go to the opera?"

He reiterated his interest and so I ordered tickets for just him and me to the first opera, which happened to be The Barber of Seville (Rossini). (You're probably imagining THIS scene from Bugs Bunny now, aren't you?)

We LOVED The Barber of Seville. Since it is a comic opera, we found much humor and laughed a great deal. The music was wonderful and we were much impressed by the sets. If you are wondering about our comprehension, yes, the music is sung in Italian, but there are English subtitles above the stage so we could understand the storyline. We had great seats on the main floor that I later realized would cost over $100 each in a regular performance.

I asked David if he wanted me to order tickets for any of the remaining shows, which had to be ordered in the fall for the rest of the year. We chose Fidelio (Beethoven) and Aida (Verdi) and then settled into the rest of his senior year.

Now, lest you imagine David as a musician or a classical music snob, I do need to tell you that he loves many kinds of music. (Just about everything except country or hipster music, he will tell you.) He likes my 80's rock, his dad's hard rock, dub-step (which I cannot define, so please google), and so many other kinds of music (even some that I don't really approve of). So, opera is just one more genre he appreciates, but not the ONLY thing he likes.

In April, the tickets arrived for Fidelio and we once again headed to Detroit. (I even let him drive!) The music of Fidelio is amazing; we both enjoy Beethoven. Since these are dress rehearsal performances, the audience is warned that the performance may stop if necessary. During the Fidelio performance, the conductor did stop the orchestra in several places to rehearse. The plotline was not as interesting to me; I found it rather predictable, but we enjoyed the staging of the play as well as the amazing performances.

So, when our tickets arrived for Aida, we were excited. Even though this performance is just days before David's graduation and we have MUCH to accomplish, we took the time to drive once more to Detroit and spend the day enjoying opera. SO glad we did. What a wonderful time we spent together. The sets were just  WONDERFUL. David, as a potential mechanical engineer, can appreciate the set design more than many observers. Since the opera is set in Ancient Egypt, one of my favorite eras, I enjoyed that very much. The portions of the show with all the cast onstage were spectacular and breathtaking.

I look forward to discovering more great operas next year and I will likely drag my other three children along. Hopefully, David will be able to continue to enjoy opera as he moves into his adult life.

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