Fall is here.
In our family we know that fall has arrived, not because the shiny new sneakers are in the locker, or because the fresh pencils and reams of filler paper have arrived. No, at our house we know its fall because we are in an Opera! This year we have kicked off the fall season by being in TWO! We dash downtown eating dinner in traffic not because I am a soccer mom, but because I am a Super Mom—mother and chaperone to the supernumeraries. This is our French Fall as both of my elder children are in operas sung in that language. This year my son gets to play a page to a main character in the opera Manon by Massenet. And my daughter has finally transitioned into adult roles and will be a priestess for The Pearl Fishers, a Bizet bit of exotica. Yes we still have homework, but it’s so much more fun to do it backstage listening to sopranos send chills down your spine or having your entire body surrounded by the sounds of the Lyric chorus than sitting at our kitchen table. The local library does not have crazy genius directors running about barefoot screaming FLUTTER PEOPLE, FLUTTER!!!!!! to distract you from a thorny math problem. Just like commitments to sports, being in Opera makes the kids very efficient by necessity. Opera is not really a kid friendly world, so they are also learning to navigate an environment that demands professionalism from everyone involved. My children have learned so much at the Lyric: how everyone from the supers to the wig folks to the makeup people are all an integral part of making the show happen. If anyone is out or fails to do their job well, it ripples through the whole operation. I wish I could teach this lesson to my colleagues at my day job!
Why do I devote such a huge chunk of my life to the opera? How can I face a 7 hour day of chaperoning a rehearsal after a week of overtime? One, it keeps my kids away from mind numbing screens and exposes them to a whole bunch of music in a way that allows them to come to love it. Once you have listen to the overture to Barber of Seville twenty times, you need to have that score in your life—it becomes part of your hard wiring. It’s something we do together as a family—and how cool is that! Also, I could be stuck at an ice rink cheering on hockey. Instead, I get to stand backstage after shepherding my charges to their entrances and watch while some of the most talented artists of my time ply their craft. I am telling you, it does not get any better than this. I am most at home in a theater and now my kids are too. Talk about imprinting!
So check us out onstage at the Lyric opera this season where my regular supernumeraries are entering a fantasy world of drama and music.