I am here working on my talk for the church women's retreat on how having Living Hope (Christ Jesus) should transform our everyday relationships. In other words, by being a new creation in Christ you ought to relate to everyone countercuturally (being sacrificial, being a good listener, being full of integrity, etc.). You know, confound people so you have an opportunity to humbly explain how much you've been forgiven of and how that changes your outlook on things from day to day.
I am basing a lot of my talk on the character on Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. He is the epitome of carrying out that Gospel transformation with everyone he meets. Sadly, I have not read the book so I am going off of what I have seen from both the musical-Hugh-Jackman version and the not-musical-Liam-Neeson version. However, if my husband doesn't stop reading me snippets of it (he decided to pursue it after we watched the musical version this Christmas season) I might have to break down and read it myself soon though I have a million other things I need to be reading right now.
I was searching for the lyrics to two of Valjean's songs which made me wonder if it was playing at the cheap theater yet. I was crestfallen to discover I would have to wait an unknown amount of time to be able to watch it for the 3rd time in the theater... However, while scrolling through the "coming soon" section I was reminded of something our cheap theater does (that perhaps others do?) -- they show famous performances of the Metropolitan operas in the morning. My guess is it's like the ones you see on PBS occasionally just on a REALLY large screen.
I am REALLY excited about this.
Irony alert: I'll be honest, I do not consider myself an opera buff. I'm not even sure I like most operas. Operas to me have always been like one of those things in life where you know you're supposed to like it because it's good for you (in this sense, culturally), but you might have to stomach a lot before you get to the point of marginally tolerating it. Kind of like broccoli, spinach, or beets. When something's not in English I feel like I am concentrating so much on reading the captions that I am missing the "experience". Even if there are a million archetypes and universal themes weaved throughout it, it's still difficult for me to enjoy. However, I have not given up hope because of three things: 1) I love musicals. Love.Love.Love. 2) The one opera I did sit through was a local production of La Boheme and I thoroughly enjoyed it (captions and all) 3) I have developed a taste (both physically and culturally) for many things because of Justin's influence. I know would be missing out on a lot if I always concluded I could never like something simply on the basis of being unsure of it. Justin keeps telling me that Les Miserables is just like an modern opera in English. 95% singing is about as close as you're going to get these days :) My curiosity after that was piqued. Of course, I will have to wait a few years to take the cheap theater up on their offer of culture because my girls are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. They're not going to care who Rigoletto is or why the flute is magic right now. But some day...
A love of learning is one of the visions for our household -- that means us and our children. Even though not every opera is going to be a diamond in the rough, I am open to the possibility that some may be total winners. Some performances may be like hiking for me -- something I still marginally tolerate and I can make my peace with that. However, some may give me something new to think about or a way to explain an idea through story to someone else. Having an open mind about things you were formerly closed to or unsure of is the essence of being teachable which produces the spirit of lifelong learning.
Oh, and if you have any opera recommendations, feel free to share them with me!