So I know that when I tell most of you that one of the items on my sand bucket list is to teach my boys opera, I’ve already lost you. You’ve already pushed the back tab, and here I am, still talking to you.
If you are not an opera fan, it’s probably because you associate opera with old stuffy people and large women and fat braids and horned helmets. That would be Wagner, and I agree with you on that. Ugh! He was a horrible man, very racist, and I’m sure he had bad breath too. I just know it.
|Study Abroad in Vienna|
If you don’t like opera, it’s because you haven’t come across Verdi or Puccini yet, nor have you ever lived in Vienna. Oh Vienna! People were so much less guarded there and thought nothing of sitting next to you and starting a conversation. I made friends from Holland, Poland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, England, Canada, and Italy, and when they broke out their wine and coffee after dinner, they also put on their Mozart. Classical music was hip. They were proud of their man Strauss and thought nothing of waltzing to his music in the streets. The fact that I could play Chopin was incredibly cool.
Things didn’t start off great though, especially when I found out that the Vienna Boys Choir were on tour, that the Vienna State Opera house was closing down for the next two months, and that the students in our study program consisted of eighteen girls and two boys! What?????? Maybe I should have saved my money for Mount Everest.
|St. Charles Bridge of Prague|
Anyway, we had one night to go to the opera house before they shut down for the summer, and sadly, it was completely sold out. At the last minute we found that they were opening seats for standing room, and after waiting three hours, we finally slipped into the opera house.
I was all hot and sweaty and gross, and packed in with a bunch of other hot and sweaty and gross people. Seriously, there were like ten people per square foot, and it was so disappointing. My first opera experience was supposed to include front row seats, a sparkly gown, roses to throw at the soprano, and a hot Italian boy sitting right next to me, whispering the English translation in my ear.
I wanted to explain this to the lady I saw in the bathroom after the first act, a lady who was wearing a sparkly dress and diamond earrings and who looked at me like I was road kill. If you want to know the truth I looked like road kill, and as I tried to pull my sweaty hair back into my barrette, I just knew that tonight was not going to be my lucky night.
Fortunately, most of the people took off after the first act, and I just had to prop myself on the railing to keep myself from fainting. I was really tired, but Tosca was worth it. I think. So yeah, now that I think about it, I’m not sure why I do love opera because I didn’t find or even lose love that night. I mostly just wanted a shower.
Still, I want to share my love of beautiful music with my boys. I know that introducing a lecture series is not the way to go. I have to be subtle. While the boys were cleaning up in the kitchen and family room today, I turned on some opera, low enough that they wouldn’t even notice it. I know I’ve got to do this on the down low or else I’ll have a full scale revolt on my hands. The boys actually went about their work without protest, and I think some of it seeped into their heads. Ha! Ha! Ha! I’ll make them opera lovers yet. Just you wait and see! They’ll be high class gentlemen, worthy of being cast in a Jane Austen movie, and they won’t even have to act!
What kinds of things do you try to do to add a little culture in your family?