I was not raised listening to opera. I am not an adult who listens to opera often. My introduction to opera was in Music History classes during college. The drop the needle tests were you need to identify the work and composer after 30 seconds or so of sound (yes turntables & vinyl were the norm back then) did not help me develop a fondness for the genre. I did of course find some of the operas I had to study more appealing than others.
At age 24 I met a guy who had a modest collection of opera recordings, who bragged about meeting Beverly Sills, and who told me he had season tickets to the San Francisco Opera when he lived in the Bay area.
After we had been married for a few years he had a business meeting in NYC and took me along. He bought tickets for us to attend the Met. I am embarrassed to say I cannot say remember what opera I saw that first time, but I know we would go back to the Met several more times over the years. What I learned that first evening is that for me the full production of an opera on stage is so much more appealing than a recording. In addition I recall attending productions of opera at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, CA and at the Sante Fe Opera in NM.
I think the evening at the Sante Fe Opera is for me the most memorable. We attended a pre-performance dinner on the grounds and then saw Handel’s Semele. OK, confession I am a Baroque period fan. Second confession I don’t have the language acquisition gene. That means Baroque & English are going to win over a more operatic, say Italian work. I believe our evening there was in 1997 because it was near the end of McHugh and Kidder theatre with open sides and a partially open roof that provided views of the night sky. The plot of Semele involves thunder & lighting, and that night nature did also.
To end my blog entry for OPERA DAY I will leave you with two links for selections from George Frideric Handel’s Semele: