Wednesday, October 10, 2007
( 12:03 AM ) teahouse
A few days ago, the Fiance surprised me with tickets to Carnegie Hall to see my favorite pianist playing my favorite piano concerto in a recital that was all compositions by my favorite composer.
Later this week, he will be taking me to see one of our favorite operas, and the Metropolitan Opera House. He got the tickets for my birthday last month. He even invited my best friend, so that I can spend a wonderful evening listening to great music with two of my favorite people.
We're not music dilettantes. We're all musicians; we've seen, heard and/or sung most of the operas we go to see. We've played a lot of the pieces we go to see performed. And we adhere to the following rules:
Rule Number One: We get the cheap nosebleed tickets, where we sit surrounded by other young and earnest musicians like ourselves. We stay far from the fur-clad pearl-draped rich old ladies who sit in the Parquet and Mezzanine sections, with their season tickets. Instead, we sit up high like the riffraff we are.
It's better up there, because we can see things like: how many stands of first violins the visiting orchestra brought (that indicates the conductor's foresight in determining the balance of the sound in the new hall); and how the percussionists are divided out by instrument (they're always the most fun to watch, and the guy with the triangle and the wooden block is always having a good time); and whether the orchestra tuned not only to the principal oboe but also to the soloist's instrument (sometimes they forget); and whether the string section leaders did a good job with their bowings (the Fiance and the best friend, who are both string players, often disagree with the decisions and criticize it, and/or argue with each other); and whether the conductor is being pretentious in his manner of conducting (this is often the case with the young, impetuous ones who have something to prove and conduct as if they're constantly posing for the cameras).
Rule Number Two: We never dress up. It's not the prom, guys. In New York, only tourists, people on first dates and people over age 60 dress up for the opera or to see a concert. The Fiance has one nice tux; he's not about to waste it on a trip to the Met. It's like being a rock star; the more shabbily you're dressed, the more serious everyone assumes you are about the music!
Rule Number Three: No fancy dinners. We take the money we saved on the tickets, and we eat either: street food picked up on the way to the concert; or blow it on a diner afterwards. And I always get a milkshake. The whole experience wouldn't be quite right without one.
So that's the closest I can come to explaining what an exhilirating experience going to see live musical performances has always been for me. It's seeped into my blood, my psyche. There are very few things in this world that give me more pleasure.
Maybe I'll see you sometime in the cheap seats! #