NYC Highlight: Free Opera Outside Lincoln Center

Some people think going to the opera is elitist because of the ticket prices and tuxedos, but I don’t think any form of music is elitist if you can budget for the tickets and thoroughly enjoy yourself. I’ve always wanted to listen to opera at the Metropolitan Opera House at least one time. I wanted to get all dolled up in a dramatic evening gown – maybe an Elie Saab or Zac Posen knock off (or I could simply wear the Badgley Mishka gown I wore as my wedding dress) – on the arms of my husband in a spiffy tuxedo, just like Loretta Castorini and Ronny Cammareri did in Moonstruck. And on this New York wedding trip, we did just that. Well, sort of. We weren’t dressed up and we didn’t actually get to go inside the Opera House, but we got to listen to and see Donizetti’s Anna Bolena on the speakers and screen on the opera season’s opening night (September 26th) at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House.

And sitting on the steps in our jeans and sneakers was actually really terrific. It was fun people watching New York’s fancies, including the likes of Tyne Daly and Zac Posen, getting out of their town cars in all their glamorous glory. But it was more fun watching the enthusiasm in the faces of casually dressed working-class folks like us setting up their plastic beach chairs to listen from the outskirts. It showed that the kind of people who enjoy opera aren’t just for the elite, that music is truly universal, that music will always bring the most unlikeliest of allies together – it’s simply that some people sit on red velvet, others on concrete. When the music comes on, the lines are completely blurred.

Also I think there’s something so romantic about sitting on the steps in your comfortable blue jeans listening to opera with your baguette and cheese surrounded by other music lovers while watching the sun set from the distance. Something you can’t do inside. It’s another you can only do in New York, and we were glad we got to experience it a few days before our wedding. So if your trip to New York ever aligns with the opening night of opera season, pick up some picnic friendly food, sit on the steps, and have the time of your life.

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