Last Thursday (as you might have read), I was in the company of one of my favorite living composers, Nico Muhly, who was due to premiere his opera “Two Boys” at the MET. You know me – I had to go, I had to make a big affair out of it. Monday night, the night of the premiere, a friend texted me as I was on my way to Lincoln Center.
“Yes! My head might explode,” I wrote back.
I met him in the lobby and watched him down a glass of wine and scarf on dinner—we could talk of nothing but Nico (“Are you going to Le Poisson Rouge Monday?” and “Oh, we’ll probably need to see this twice, right?”) Ten minutes to curtain I raced up to my seat, via spiral staircase (that I once jogged up with so much anticipation only 10 years prior, at my first MET Opera of my life). After last Thursday’s event at Juilliard with Nico, I was even more excited to hear some of those musical nuances he’d spent a few hours talking about.
The opera, in my own opinion, was pretty awesome. I was extremely drawn into the plot, having kept away from spoilers, and having been a child of the AOL early internet days. I grew up as a teen asking people their “a/s/l” and typing “P911” frequently into my after school chat windows. So the subject matter felt very accessible. Sure, Nico’s music had the intensity I expected, but also its moments of poignancy and of sheer sublimity. The last five minutes of the final scene and melody swirled through my head the rest of the evening.
During intermission I had planned a rendezvous with one of my old mentors who now lives in D.C. We had a pleasant chat at the grand staircase.
“The new music crowd is here,” she said, and I nodded in agreement. There was an overall excitement swelling the space -- a photographer taking photos of fashionable patrons, gentlemen in chic casual suits and vintage classes whispering over two tall champagnes, millennial music students in suede booties and geometric coats, and singers and artists and all.
After the show I planned to meet with my friends, but one dead cell phone and a miscommunication left me exiting the opera house alone, admiring people in groups chatting post-show. I can’t walk through Lincoln Center without reminding myself that I spent four years in Alabama dreaming of the kind of evening that I was having at that very moment.
I never want to forget that I’m doing those things now.
I got home late, and a text from my friend came through the second my phone had a charge – he’d gotten into the after-party and gave Mr. Muhly his congratulations. My dead phone suddenly felt like the catalyst to a lot of unfortunate events, but I was satisfied enough to curl in bed, log on to Twitter where everyone was a-buzz about the opera, even my friends on the West Coast, who’d listened along on the radio.