Night at the Opera (with Flip Flops)

Although there have concerts there all summer, (and many of them like the one last night are free,) I never made the plans to go to Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion. I've wandered into the Park as a daytime tourist to marvel at the Frank Gehry-designed pavilion. It's always made me think of a barrister's wig, tossed down onto the ground.
Last night, in attendance of the "Stars of Lyric Opera" free preview concert, I learned that during a concert the pavilion metamorphoses as the lighting designers pace their cues to the music. When lit blue, the ribbons of stainless steel look like cool ice cubes in a glass. When lit hot with orange and red the silver skin looks like a blacksmith's metal in the forge, ready for the strike of a hammer.
The annual concert from Chicago's Lyric Opera is a sampler performed by the orchestra and stars of the Opera. This was pleasant for the opera novice (me) since they sang a few tunes from operas I've heard before like La Traviata and Man of La Mancha. Sitting in the park, sipping a margarita from a plastic cup brought by a friend, in my t-shirt and flip flops, reminded me of the joy of doing something so formal (A Night at the Opera) so casually. One of the enjoyments of being a student at Oberlin, with its regular operas and music performances, was to put down your studying just ten minutes prior to curtain time, toss on your sneakers and walk over to the opera. Next to you in every seat was another equally shabbily dressed college student. It took the high-brow intimidation out of opera. It's just another concert.
I learned last night though, that unlike rock concerts, opera stars and the orchestra do not come back for another set based on audience applause. They just bow more.
The overall experience was stirring. When the chorus stood up and joined their voices with the orchestra you felt the force of the sound push you back in your chair. And I really liked one piece from Tosca that featured deep drumbeats.
I don't think there's a more enjoyable way to enjoy music than outside. When I think over some of my most memorable concerts, many were outside. Last night, there was a cool summer evening breeze, and I looked above to the skyline of Chicago, lit office windows making a pseudo-starry sky. At 9 pm the lights of the fireworks at Navy Pier lit up the eastern sky, and there was the occasional ambulance siren competing for control of the nighttime sound.


Jean Therapy said...

Sigh, sounds like it was a lovely night!


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