Opera and Kickboxing
Expanding one’s horizons is what life is all about.
It is very difficult for me to explain. Throughout my life, I envisioned the opera to be an interest for others, but certainly not me. Although I was always an avid reader, writer, and a lover of literature and music, my focus from my college years centered on more physical activities.
Hiking, canoeing, running, baseball and, most of all, the martial arts consumed my years in between reading and writing. When I was in competition in AAU Tae Kwon Do, I would never have admitted knowing how to spell the word o-p-e-r-a for fear of being blackballed from the sport.
During all the time I spent teaching in Europe, my wife managed to drag me to the opera twice. I saw, at the Vienna Opera House (pictured above), what I surmised to be a horrible presentation, and I cut out at intermission (which I called halftime), and waited for my wife to enjoy the rest of the show alone.
In Milan, Carol dragged me kicking and screaming to La Scala, one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. I admit I enjoyed the voices, so I calmed down – a little. I had no clue what was going on in the presentation.
I don’t remember the year, but we went with some friends to New York City to see Phantom of the Opera. I love my wife, so I allow her to drag me to things she enjoys, even though most of the time I would rather wrestle a gorilla. In any event, we saw the last performance of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, and she knocked my socks off. This beautiful lady could make me jump up and yell brava at a Pittsburg Steelers game.
Nevertheless, it was not until approximately two years ago that I began to see something that had never been part of my knowledge base. I started blogging with a friend from Portugal with a website called Fanaticos da Opera. At first, I found it interesting to acquire a little knowledge about a new subject, as I am a lifetime learner. However, I began to notice a close correlation between the literature I love so much and opera.
After two years of reading the greatest reviews of presentations ever imagined, (for which I wholeheartedly thank my friend, Fanatico Um), I started to appreciate not only the quality of the writing om his website, but also the presentations themselves.
I have been doing considerable reading on the subject of opera, and we have now seen a few performances. I could never begin to acquire the knowledge that experienced opera buffs enjoy, but I am learning to understand the nature of the performances, and the value of the librettos, composers, and actor/singers.
To acquire new knowledge on any subject is a milestone to me. One of my core beliefs is that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Therefore, anything we learn adds exponentially to the value of our lives.
I am still learning, and will post my progress and opinions in the future.