More of Why I Love NYC: A Day at the Opera


Yesterday felt like spring. I had just had a very good meeting and took a moment to sit in Bryant Park and watch the snow melt. I took a brisk walk up 6th Avenue, ran into a great friend & director, edged my way through Central Park…I swear one of the horses was showing off for me. And eventually made my way to the Metropolitan Opera around 12:30pm. There were throngs of people everywhere, sitting in the sun, running off to the matinee theater showing, at least three groups of school kids ranging from 6 – 12 touring Lincoln Center, a number of people came to see the exhibit of Maria Callas’ Swarovski crystals. I sat in the sun, reading “The Fig Eater” and chatted with one woman, easily in her 70s. She’s been going to the Opera for years and could name the date, conductor and reviews of pretty much every opera. Around 3pm, I made my way into the Opera House and headed downstairs. There were already 30 people in front of me waiting for Rush Tickets for that night’s performance of “Die Zauberflote” (The Magic Flute) produced by Julie Taymor of Lion King fame. Rush Tickets are 200 Orchestra seats sold for $20 the night of a performance, sponsored/created by Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman.

Directly in front of me online were a bunch of high school students, an elderly couple I think from Denmark? and behind me was a mother and daughter from China, a family of 5 from Germany. I chatted with this superb woman whose grandfather was an opera singer. She and I talked about how much we’d love to be philanthropists and create this kind of access & opportunity (like Agnes and Karl). We all sat on the cold floor near the parking garage and drafty subway entrance until 6pm. And were happy to do so. People brought papers, coffee for each other. My friend showed up with sushi.

At 6pm, we made our way back upstairs to the main lobby of the Met and bought our tickets. My friend and I got a glass of Scotch nearby, and at 8pm the Opera began. No surprise, it was spectacular. Our seats were perfect. I saw various people from the line. And the bear sequence of the Magic Flute made the entire wait on a hard cold floor the best ever use of my time.


~ by Cybel Martin on February 22, 2007.

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