Recently I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and see their new production Falstaff. Being the first production that I had seen in a major opera house I was shocked at the quality of the entire thing. I know that sounds ridiculous because, of course it would be amazing! It’s the Metropolitan Opera. BUT unless you have been there before you are NOT ready for all of the glitz and glamour that is included.
First the production quality is breathtaking. From the lighting, to the fifty foot tall set pieces, the costumes and staging. Everything was seemingly perfect for the entire production. What might have been even more glamorous that the show, were the amount of people there dressed to the nines. Suits, dresses, mink coats; it was all too much for me and just the right amount at the same time.
But of all the amazing things that made my first (and definitely not last) Met experience what it was, the most respectable was the talent on the stage that evening. I have been studying classical music for the past few years at an undergraduate level and will admit to only having the most limited experience in critiquing or even commenting on a production of this quality – but what I can say about the show is that is was ***Flawless. Every performer on that stage brought such a effortlessness and ease to their perfection of the role.
It is easy to be in a place like the Metropolitan Opera and assume that the performers on the stage were just born destined for some sort of musical greatness. Because, well…how else does someone get that good? There are thousands of professional classical vocalists and millions of performers worldwide who could work and practice their whole life and never make it to a stage like the Met. So of course these performers must be the exception right? There must have been something different from the start.
While I can’t comment on the implications of fate in the previous paragraph without surely contradicting myself sometime later in this same post, I did learn something great from asking myself these same questions as a performer. Practice doesn’t always make you perfect, but it does make you better. It is amazing how quickly we assume that the people that we look up to are just naturally great – and in some cases this is completely true! But I wonder if we would be shocked to find that some of the greatest started out on the same level as the rest…
And worked their way to the top.