This past Tuesday my two daughters and I went to the Metropolitan Opera House Tree Lighting and then on a special backstage tour of the theater. Growing up in New York City some of my most vivid and cherished memories of New York theater are linked to that incredibly beautiful theater. I still remember the first time I sat in the velvet chairs and watched the mammoth sparkling chandeliers rise up to the ceiling stories above as the lights dimmed and the music began. This was the first time my daughters had been inside the opera house being only seven and not yet ready to sit through and appreciate a full-length production of ballet, and certainly not opera.
Imagine your first time inside such an impressively huge and gorgeous theater as a sort of insider. We were led into the main orchestra seating where we heard about the history of the theater and watched the crew as they readied the stage for that night’s opera, Le Nozze di Figaro. I think the girls were more impressed by the size and scope of the sets seeing them in the bare light and with wings clearly visible than they would be with the usual trickery of stage lighting. We then went on to the actual workshops where the sets are constructed, touched up, painted and broken down. The girls got such a kick out of seeing the burned witch remains from Hansel and Gretel missing a toe and in need of repair as well as the giant chefs’ heads that needed spiffing up. From there we walked on to the actual stage. Now, here is where the full-fledged theater geek in me wanted to shake my daughters and try and get them to understand that they were standing on the very stage that Pavarotti had sung on, that Cynthia Gregory had danced on. But really they just thought the slanting floors of the sets and the fact that the paintbrushes were attached to poles to touch up the top of the sets were really cool. Me however? I was seriously elated and awestruck.
Sometimes a backstage tour can leave you feeling like the mystery has gone out of what you loved. Too many warts revealed or illusions shattered. Usually things don’t measure up in real life. The opposite was true after our tour of the Met. I have a brand new appreciation for the scope and magnitude of the artistry and hard labor that go into mounting each production and my daughters were so enthralled by the end (maybe due to my relentless cheerleading and prodding) that they have now decided they want to go to the new production of Hansel and Gretel and attend their first opera.
And, A GIVEAWAY!
IF you would like a chance to see this special holiday production of Hansel and Gretel, sung in English, at the Met leave a comment below. I have two orchestra seats to give away for 8:00pm on Monday, December 14th! The winner will be picked by Saturday December 12th.
For more information on the opera click here!
This is an original beccarama.com post.