Her First Opera

Living in the city with four kids requires a bit of sacrifice. We don’t have a big back yard or a spacious basement. Everyone doesn’t have his or her own bedroom. Minimal storage space means that we can have minimal stuff. But…living in the city with four kids also means we have world-class cultural events within steps of our front door. City living means that the city is our backyard.

Yesterday my mom and I took Evie to her first opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. We made it a really special girls afternoon – one that I will forever remember. Evie put on her fanciest, sparkliest dress (a treasured hand-me-down from a neighborhood “big” girl), sparkly bangles we bought at an Indian market on New Year’s Eve and her sparkly glitter boots. After she approved my comparatively humble ensemble we jumped in a cab. It was so fun to sneak out of the house together while Chris minded the other three!

Our first stop was my parents’ apartment so we could pick up my mom. ¬†From their place we headed to Russian Tea Time, a Chicago landmark restaurant in the heart of downtown. We enjoyed a proper afternoon tea, complete with scones, savory snacks and lovely sugar cookies. Evie sipped her strawberry tea like a little lady. My little lady.

We finished up our tea and hopped in another cab – this time, we were headed to the beautiful Lyric Opera of Chicago. When we pulled up to the historic building, I was so pleasantly surprised by the crowds. What a joy to see so many other parents who also value the arts and want to introduce their children to all our wonderful city has to offer. My mom noticed that everyone was dressed up – how nice to have a special occasion! And, how nice for kids to have a chance practicing good manners and polite behavior.

The Magic Victrola creatively wove classic opera tunes into an easily understandable story line the kids loved. Fanciful costumes, an imaginative set, and immensely talented performers who really understood the audience brought the show to life. At one point I got goosebumps because live opera is just so much more moving and emotional than a recording.

The performance lasted a solid hour, but not once did Evie look bored or anxious to leave. She settled into her chair and kept her eyes on the stage. I had to remind myself that these well-known songs were probably new to her.  Amazing to think that the works Mozart and Bizet introduced to the world hundreds of years ago still resonate with a modern audience.

Last night as I tucked Evie into bed she started crying. She wanted so badly, she said, to start the day over so she could see the opera again. It really was a special day for her – and me!


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