Opera, Opera, Opera!

Would you pay $26 to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton on Broadway, live?

I know few Orange County friends who love opera, let alone are willing to see one. This may be because Orange County has few operas. I’ve been looking! The Segerstrom Center for the Arts has some performances, but Costa Mesa is pretty far. Moreover, it only has concert performances (full shows done without staging or costumes in front of an orchestra).

Recently, I discovered my favorite opera, Carmen, broadcasted live for free on the Santa Monica Pier from the LA Opera. The LA Opera is the grandest local opera house, and witnessing something this professional live was moving. Dancers were hired from the depths of Spain for a genuine Spanish vibe, and costumes shimmered and poofed in all their Spanish glory. Tickets are at least $90 for a “cheap” theatre seat, in which performers can barely be seen or heard; free showings are unheard of!

My friends and I zoomed to the pier and fangirled over the huge stage and thick French accents. The music can be found in our playlists; we hummed along the whole time. The opera is risqué, funny, and dazzling. If more people had access to opera in Orange County, I’m sure we could love and appreciate it the way this crowd did on the Santa Monica Pier. It was so enjoyable!

The Live at the Met series is broadcasting full operas live from the Metropolitan Opera House in most Regal movie theatres. This is the best opera house in the country! I’ve never seen a bigger stage, and the cameras show so much detail I can see reflections in the characters’ eyes. Tickets are around $26, with over 10 operas this year! More than the average movie ticket, but very cheap compared to live tickets, often at Hamilton prices ($855+). Only internationally famous and experienced singers have been cast! If you’re an opera fan like me or are ready to behold these regal performances, please come and support the art by attending. Few people know about it, but more should.

This is the same as $26 to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton live on Broadway, in the movie theatre!

The Orange County School of the Arts is also doing L’Enfant et Les Sortilèges in the spring, so look out for that!

Meanwhile, I will be hunting down local operas. I’m determined to find performances in Mission Viejo! Operas can be expensive, but I’m working on finding deals so teens can experience this difficult and powerful art form at an accessible price. I’ll keep you updated!

What local opera productions do you know of? Please comment to let me know!

-Jessica F.

Apparently, I Can’t Ride a Boat

On Saturday, August 12, from 3:30-6pm, my friends and I built a cardboard boat, and attempted to race it across the Sierra Recreation and Fitness Center Pool.

We were given two large, cardboard boxes, a roll of silver duct tape, and a new X-acto knife (in the package!). We had 60 minutes to mess around and figure out how on earth to get 16-year-old-me across a lap pool against kids a third of my size.

We decided a canoe shape would stand out aerodynamically and also look cool. We used a red pen to trace the outline of one cardboard box and had great ideas while listening to Hamilton. We made flaps to keep the edges together and coated it in duct tape.

Soon families began to cart their boats to the pool. Their boats looked very different from ours! We wondered if this was a good or bad thing. We looked back on our hard work and realized in our strategic placing of cardboard and duct tape, we had forgotten to include the other cardboard box! We hastily taped together supporting poles from the other box and hobbled the odd raft to the pool as an employee insisted we’d be disqualified in seconds.

We waited for our team name, Wrong Direction, to be called, and lined up on the bright poolside. I was the smallest, so I had been nominated to maneuver the raft. I was given a plastic, green shovel to navigate the treacherous water. How I was going to get in, I did not know. My friend etched the boat over the pool’s peak, and when he megaphone blared “GO!” I nervously put one foot in the boat and it instantly collapsed under my weight.

Laughing, I sunk into the chlorinated water and held onto the soggy, floating cardboard to try and recompose myself. The failure of our creation was magical and hilarious. It took me a while to stop giggling and not-so-gracefully heave myself out of the water. Wrong Direction did not care at all that our hard work and been reduced to mush because creating it and watching me sink (mainly watching me sink) was an as good as a reward as any.

We had so much fun, and will definitely be staying updated with the Sierra Recreation and Fitness Center’s activities, as I recommend you do as well.

-Jessica F.