Today we took advantage of an amazing local opportunity. Portland Opera offers an educational program called Opera To Go, aimed at introducing children to the opera. I had seen their offerings flutter through my inbox before, but always figured that we just weren't ready for all of that. But when I read about today's offering, I stopped and reconsidered.
Today they were offering "Hansel and Gretel". Now, both of our boys had fallen in love with this creepy little story over the last month, after checking out a version from the library. They were disgusted by the evil mother figure, delighted at the wisdom of the children, and only a little frightened of the witch. Their familiarity with the story, when combined with the length of the performance (50 min.), location (just a few minutes from our house), and the cost (an amazing free!) all screamed to us to give it a shot.
Seriously, it was fabulous. The program was designed for children - so they had their own seating area right up front, while we sat towards the back. The woman who lead the program was entertaining and taught the children appropriate opera audience behavior. Plus there was beer and wine (a bonus for the mommies and daddies), and because it was all parents with young children, no one expected the kiddos to be perfect. The performance was great, and they had done a few things to make it even more fun (the witch was male, the mom was just frustrated with the Hansel and Gretel so she sent them out to pick strawberries). And the boys LOVED it.
They enjoyed it so much that they asked to stay for the second 50 minute performance - a "opera's greatest hits", if you will. There were songs from many different operas, all introduced perfectly to provide enough context to understand the piece. And my two busy, noisy boys were captivated. The entire time.
It was one of those afternoons where I remembered just how much I am in love with my life. Glass of wine and knitting in hand, sitting with the man I love, watching my boys listen to beautiful music. This afternoon was art.