Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today I went to see Jenufa at Glimmerglass Opera, which is located in Cooperstown, NY (also home of the Baseball Hall of Fame). The opera was written by the Czech composer, Leoš Janáček. I went to the performance excited to see my old classmate from NEC, Andrea Coleman, who had a small role, but I'll admit I was, and have been, feeling great inner conflict about the glorification of "classical" music -- the music of dead white men. Even when I arrived at this beautiful outdoor theatre in the middle of upstate New York's rolling farmland hills, I felt contempt for the mostly older, white, elitist crowd, who had driven in from western MA, CT, Albany, and other areas of upstate NY. I felt contempt for their trendy glasses and leather pants, their conversations about Beethoven and Bach, and their poofy grey hair that partly obstructed my view of the stage from my balcony seat. But here's the thing... the music was SO beautiful... and the singing was gorgeous... and the acting was incredibly intense. As the drama unfolded I found myself on the edge of my seat, angry in one moment, hopeful, and then full of tears. The issues presented in the drama were issues of people -- all people -- the darkness and the light. On the way out people looked different. My ears were more quick to notice the conversations about trips to El Salvador and my eyes noticed the hybrid cars and bumper stickers reading, "War is not the answer". I should know by now that my brain's need to generalize the way a group of people are is a flaw. You can't make a blanket statement about what all Americans are like or Iranians or New Yorkers or Israelis or Chinese or people going to the opera. I know better than that.

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