Opera and Ballet

Two experiences at the Lincoln Center in NYC and Generative Hobbies

The first two things on my original list of 50 Things were to attend an opera and to attend a ballet performance. Being as close as I am to NYC, I decided to “go big” and buy tickets to see La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera House and tickets to see Misty Copeland with the American Ballet Theater. My husband was the lucky one who got to go to the Opera with me (though he would tell you differently) and my daughter went with me to the ballet. Both performances banned cameras so the only photos I have of either or from before the shows began.

I’m glad I did both but I don’t know if I would do either again. I would have enjoyed the opera if I could understand more of what they were saying but unfortunately, I don’t speak Italian.

A few years later I spent a Saturday morning at the Met taking a score reading class and enjoyed this much more. (I know what you are thinking and yes, I agree — this is really nerdy). The Met has a great teacher and offers different classes for different operas throughout the year. Although I can read music, I am truly amazed at the size of the scores that conductors have to manage when leading an entire orchestra. When taking a score reading class at the Met, they offer the chance to attend a performance right after the class and sit in much-discounted “reading seats.” These are seats without a view of the stage but they each have a little desk and light so you can follow along with what you hear as it is being sung. Even if the opera is sung in a foreign language, you will be able to recognize the flow and speed of the music and match it to the score. The reading seats aren’t widely known about and have another bonus — the location of these special seats provides the best sound in the Opera House.

If anyone wants to attend an opera or ballet in NYC, or check out a score reading class (which only seems to be available online now, probably due to Covid), the links follow:

The Ballet: https://www.abt.org/performances/summer-season/

The Opera : https://www.metopera.org

The Score Reading Class: https://metguild.thinkific.com/courses/introscorereading

When I was clicking around to see if the score reading classes were still offered, I found these awesome illustrated representations of operas that are likely meant for kids but I love them:)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything online about the score reading seats so I am not sure if they are available at this time but if you are interested, the score reading class teachers would know for sure.

A lot of the things on my original 50 Things list, as well as my partially-created 56 Things list, seem like hobbies, like glass-blowing, iceskating, or cooking. If someone asks you what your hobbies are, you are likely to say something along these lines. In a recent post by Seth Godin, he talks about how hobbies have changed and how what we create online and share with others is the new version of a hobby. In that light, this newsletter and a lot of what I create online just for the fun, is one of the hobbies that take up most of my time. What about you? Do you have a non-traditional or “new” hobby? Maybe one of your hobbies is something someone else reading this newsletter has always wanted to try. Comment below and maybe some matches can be made:)

Don’t forget to subscribe to the 50 Things Newsletter to receive ideas and resources for your 50 Things delivered to your inbox every Wednesday!

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Linda Tapp

Trying to squeeze every bit of life out of every day. I write about learning, continuous improvement, and new experiences.