BWW Feature: FRIDAYS UNDER 40 at The Metropolitan Opera
With the price of tickets at soaring heights, only providing young professionals more fuel for their ill-conceived notion of opera's inaccessibility, the Metropolitan Opera has crafted an exciting counter argument - Fridays Under 40. The event's carefully themed details feature the repertoire slated for performance, creating an immersive evening experience. When I was fortunate enough to attended, Il Trovatore was on the docket.
After arriving at the house and checking-in with the attendant in the lobby, we were instructed to make our way up the stairs to the Revlon Bar on the Grand Tier. The tone for the evening was set immediately upon entry with supernumeraries, plucked straight from the Anvil Chorus, ready and waiting for photo opportunities. Before I'd finished taking them in, the attendant informed me that fortune tellers (à la the gypsy Azucena) had been placed throughout the space where they would be ready and waiting for readings. I was stoked and bee-lined it to the bar to grab some complementary beverages provided by the Damilano Winery.
The crowd was intriguingly diverse, cloaked in everything from full tuxes to hoodies, Louboutins to sad little flats. After recently seeing a lack of younger people at classical music events, it was a refreshing site - planting the hope that more events like this could foster a younger audience base. There may have been a few friends who seemed...long in the tooth? Perhaps they had fake IDs, used to gain entry to the event, and for that I would understand. My friend and I had a blast. While waiting to have our fortunes told (I was SHOCKINGLY informed that my dating life would be one hell of a bumpy ride...), we made friends from around the world. There were under 40s attending from all over and the event offered the perfect opportunity for mingling that intermissions do not. There were enough attendees that it didn't feel awkward, but not so many that you were able to sequester yourself without engaging. Adding the element of the open bar provided the necessary lubrication and everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves.
After the pre-show event, we went off to enjoy the evening. Il Trovatore was fantastic, with Yonghoon Lee's biting tenor hitting me in the lower back and sending shivers up my spine - a bite for the gods. And Anita Rachvelishvili? I can't. Her portrayal was bat-shit crazy with a voice to match. Exquisite in every way. I hope that she and Ms. Zajick have tea frequently, because, as soon as she's ready, there's a torch to be passed here.
Frankly, if you're under 40 and not attending the Met's Fridays Under 40 events, you're doing it wrong. Where else in the city are you able to see world-class live performances with an open bar at these prices? Nowhere. Here are the remaining events for the season. Really, you should go.
Feature Photo: The auditorium of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Photo: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera