Thursday, October 15, 2009

His first opera

I took my son to the opera last night, Tosca at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It was my first opera too, same company, same building, 33 years ago. Theo was adamant that his first opera be the same as mine so there we were. We sat in the very last row of the upper balcony which was just fine because he could stand up to see better and it didn't bother anyone.

He was by far the youngest person in the audience. At eight, he is in fact the minimum age for admittance. There was some trepidation among a few of our neighbors way up there but that was relieved when they realized he was not going to be fidgety, at least not more than the average adult in the audience.

I'm not sure if his experience had the same impact as mine did so long ago, I was ten years older, by myself, buying a turnback ticket a half hour before the sold out performance. I was also in the midst of an obsession which would last several years. His obsession for opera was set aside this summer when he fell in love with baseball. Yet he maintained, at least for our sake, his enthusiasm, and seemed to have a good time. At the very least he got to be out on the town with the big folks way past his bedtime on a school night.

As for me, I got to pass down something to my son that has been an important part of my life. Not to take too much credit but I think I'm also doing my part to help insure that opera will be around at least for another generation.

Of course this would not have been possible had we not lived in a city that supported culture. I always felt lucky to be exposed to so many different experiences that a big city afforded and I'm glad that my children will have the same opportunities. While it's not always easy to bring up kids in the big city, the rewards are many.

It was a night that neither of us will forget for a very long time.

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