Opera Betty Goes To New York!

If I call it a company retreat on the internet, can I claim it as a tax deduction?

We went to New York for the week and saw as much opera at the Met as humanly possible without waiting for them to open Iphigenie.  They treated us incredibly well. And now we have to brag a little.

Nixon in China
First I should say that from here on out I’ll say “we” but I mean “I” because when something fabulous was offered I jumped at it and left the junior staffers in the dust. They had their moment – I just had more. Let’s try this again.

Nixon in China
On Saturday we saw Nixon in China which is good because we took our kids/staff out of school before school vacation so we could get to New York in time for Nixon. I really, really hope their teachers don’t read this.  Still it didn’t occur to me that John Adams (I love John Adams) would be conducting it. Of course John Adams was conducting it.

My editor (not here, this is not her fault) was stage managing the night we went. I had visions of her looking at the monitor and seeing my face appear above the wall that separates the orchestra from the general public. I like to think that she would not have expected to see me stage diving the pit.

It’s possible she expected that, which would explain the additional security.

La Bohème
I didn’t see La Bohème very well because I watched it from the wings (tra la!). I also missed parts of it entirely because I was running around making sure Mimi’s key was in the right place and stalling Musetta in the wings so she couldn’t get to Mimi in time with the medicine.

That last bit is not exactly true – although Musetta (Susanna Phillips) did stand right behind me and seemed very nice and like the sort of person who would sell her earrings to save your life if need be.

Marco Armiliato smiled at me quite by accident but I will remember it forever nonetheless.

At first intermission the junior staff members came backstage to watch the scene change and were each given a handful of Act III snow. Note: people who say opera is snobby have not met the people who work backstage. People in the house sometimes need to get over themselves, but the ones who make it all happen are the cat’s pajamas.

I got to pet the horse and the donkey and ate a cookie out of the Act II cookie jar. Don’t tell anyone.

My life mission is now to start as many sentences as possible with “this one time, backstage at the Met….”

Don Pasquale
The last time I saw Anna Netrebko in something it was Lucia di Lammermoor. Lucia is almost exactly like Don Pasquale in that she wants to marry someone and someone else is not letting her. The difference is that in Don Pasquale she smashes things and then redecorates and in Lucia she kills someone and then dies. I liked her in both.

You know what else I like? Sitting in box seats. The boxes have their own coatrooms. We sat in the parterre for Don Pasquale and I really think it made it sound better.

“I could get used to this,” I said to the Opera Betty CFO.

“No,” he said. “No you can’t.”

He also thought the plot was “far-fetched” which… oh please.

I learned some important things about opera while I was there – specifically, that you can order dessert ahead of time and be seated in the Met restaurant during intermission. We didn’t do this but only because we’re idiots.

I also learned that my daughter and I are not the only ones to get sucked into American Girl Place and spat out on 5th Avenue. I had a nice chat with the radio broadcast coordinator and she knows all about these things.

Opera people, after all, are people too. They just get to smash things.