Simon Boccanegra, Giuseppe Verdi
Ariadne Auf Naxos, Richard Strauss
Carmen, Georges Bizet
La Fille du Regiment, Gaetano Donizetti
Arrival in New York was welcoming. I travelled from JFK on the A-line and sitting next to me was a young guy who wasn't shy about his criminal self and his time in prison. He was talking to a girl who he knew perhaps as part of his gang, but could equally have met her one station before I boarded. If it wasn't for her, I might very well have been the target of his story and I dreaded to think how I was going to share my reason for being. "No, I've never been to prison. I've heard alot about it, though tonight I think I might see if I can get a ticket to the opera.
Tonight, Wednesday, 10th February, is presumably my last night in New York but the snow continues to fall and the accumulation of its delicate white effect is monstrously disrupting the city. My only request at this stage is that I get out on a flight tomorrow. Every other part of my journey has gone to plan so I am relying now on good luck to get to Los Angeles by tomorrow evening. All schools here and some businesses were shut down but the opera goes ahead. Tonight I am going to see La Fille du Regiment and it completes my plan to see four operas here at the Metropolitan Opera. Since I am staying within a three minute walk to the Lincoln Center (I wonder if some performers have to walk further to get to the stage from the labyrinthine backstage quarters), It is not far I have to go for the fix. I walked over there last Friday night, the day of arrival, and picked up a Standing Room ticket for 10USD (face value 17.50USD) as easily as ever it could be, and saw a "sold out" performance of Carmen. That was not part of my original plan so deciding to see Carmen last night as intended, I actually will have attended the opera five times here. Adding to that an unscheduled stop and a complimentary ticket to see Sleeping Beauty by the NYC Ballet on Sunday afternoon and I can call the Lincoln Center my living room for the week.
When I was last here in New York, I learned that the Metropolitan Opera offer 150 Orchestra seats (Stalls equivalent) for 20USD, sold as rush tickets two hours prior to all performances from Monday to Thursday only. Each person is allowed to purchase no more than two tickets each so it is an extraoI was planning to see three of the operas in this manner but as it turned out I only ended up with one rush ticket for La Fille du Regiment on my last night.
Abruptly departing, at this point the Operachaser has to ready himself to head over for the final night's performance. It is now just after 3pm and I am awaiting news for my flight out to Los Angeles tonight. I have to return to the check-in counter in a couple hours. I'm optimistic. So, while waiting, what better to do than complete this story of the New York Four. "
Since I arrived at my hotel in the early afternoon on Friday 5th February, rather exhausted from an early morning start in Paris, I decided to have a nap and, to my surprise, I didn't stir for almost three hours. After a swim, I got ready and left to see if I could get a ticket to see Carmen. As I've mentioned, I got a standing room position in the Family Circle, the uppermost level of the house but, with binoculars in hand, I was able to get a more than adequate view of the performance. I was off to a great start for the week and this night out was an insurance measure just in case I couldn't get a ticket on the Tuesday night. As it turned out, I was struck with a degree of difficulty on the Tuesday night, 9th February. I arrived at 3.30pm to stand in line for a ticket but at 4.30pm I decided to give up as it was crazy to believe I had a chance of getting one of the 150 tickets on offer at 6pm. I had a swim and returned to the theatre at about 7.30pm and watched the winterclad crowd file into the foyer, working hard amongst the rest of the competition. Finally, I managed to secure a 102.50USD Dress Circle seat for 40USD which was double