20 July 2000
I was on my way home the other day, thinking about my life, and realizing that I have accomplished one of my childhood goals.
I grew up in Lander, Wyoming. Population 11,000 during the boom years of the 70's and 7,000 during the bust years of the 80's. Both my father and my grandfather had what I considered to be huge record collections. My grandfathers collection of classical music never drew me as much as my father's collection of operas.
I don't exactly remember how I came to be listening to opera on my own (instead of just listening to whatever my dad had on). Part of it was teenage rebellion-I wanted to be different than my peers who listened to insipid pop music. I also loved Shakespeare from a young age and so part of the attraction to opera was the overlap in plots between some of the operas my father had and some of the works of Shakespeare I had read. The final attraction, was the incredible range and power of the human voices in opera.
I grew up as part of various choirs in grade school, junior high, high school, church, and community college. I love singing. I love to sing. I don't have a powerful voice or much of a range but the feeling of standing in the center of a chorus and feeling the tide of voices rising around me always kept me coming back for more. And knowing my own limitations as a singer only impressed on me more the amazing beauty of professional opera singers.
Growing up in Wyoming, my only chance to see opera was on the living-room television set when PBS would broadcast "Live from the Met" and seeing it on television was never as wonderful as lying on the couch listening to a record with the sound washing over me.
I hoped one day to see opera live.
A few years ago I got my chance. My friend Ieva was working for the Seattle Opera Costume Shop and had a comp ticket available for dress rehearsal. Since her dad (another opera fan) couldn't come she invited me. I had a wonderful time. Not only did I get to see opera live-I got to see my friend's hard work brought to life on stage. Over the next year or so I went to several dress rehearsals with Ieva. Sometimes she had to work while I watched the show but I always enjoyed myself. Once in a while the Opera would be generous and Ieva's father or my husband could come with me-then, after the opera, we would take Ieva out for dessert.
In 1997 my husband and I realized that we were making enough money to be able to afford some planned extras and so we subscribed to three of the Seattle Opera Productions for 1997-98 season. The next year we subscribed to the full season and now we find ourselves not only subscribed to the 2000-01 season but signing up for the 2001 Ring Cycle as well.
A round of thanks to my father for letting me explore the world of music through his collection, to Ieva for brining me into her world of dream creation, and to my husband David for supporting me in my love of opera (maybe some year we'll get that jig-saw). Thanks to you all for creating and fulfilling dreams.