by Eric Green
On a recent Friday nite in June, the 20th to be exact, the Metropolitan Opera of New York City visited the Meadow in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. This was their first visit to Brooklyn's open air world and it was a resounding success. It is not a new finding that opera is enjoyed by a significant number of working class people including broad sections of African Americans and Latins. But, it is a real happening when the highest form of that music, the MET, is made available, at not cost, to the working classes of Brooklyn. And, we all took advantage of the opportunity.
Tens of thousands were there from 7pm to past 10pm. The music started at around 8pm and concluded with enores which included the singing of Grenada, TWICE. The main song from Latraviata was supposed to be the last one of the evening, but alas our two main singers would not have it, so they sang Grenada again. They sang an array of arias and familiar songs that kept the audience in a high state of enjoyment throughout the evening.
The singers were very familiar to opera goers: Soprano Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. She is from Romania and he is French. They were a perfect selection for Brooklyn. Their singing perfection might, in part, come from their being married. The Met Opera chorus was just amazing and the orchestra director for all of this was great. It was directed by Iom Martin who has a great career as a composer, pianist and director.
Of course, to pay the cost of this event corporate sponsors like Bank of America were needed. In other countries where the performing arts are more appreciated and fought for there are city and national budget lines which makes these kinds of events not just possible, but mandatory. This evening showed what was possible in regard to turn out.
The next Congress should be forced to significantly increase the federal support for the arts, for example, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.
Orchestras, theater companies and all other creative and performing arts should not be forced to go hat in hand to Corporate American for hand outs.