A Day at the Opera

Until Saturday, I’d never been to an opera. It was something I always thought I should do eventually, but made no real effort to go. So when I learned that the Metropolitan Opera Summer Series was happening in Williambridge Oval Park as part of SummerStage, I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it was the first time that they’ve ever performed in this park, which is pretty cool.

We’ve all seen some kind of opera on tv at some point in our lives (I am specifically thinking of this episode of Hey Arnold) but let me tell you that seeing it in person is something totally different.

Performing a variety of songs from Verdi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner (among others!)  Gabriella Reyes de Ramirez (soprano), Gerard Schneider (tenor), and Adrian Timpau (baritone)  did such an amazing job conveying the passion and conviction of each song that it didn’t matter that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying. It’s really moving and captivating, not to mention that their vocal abilities are insane.

While this was their only show in the Bronx, they have two more shows coming up in Jackie Robinson Park in Manhattan and Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. I highly recommend checking it out if you can.

 

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The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis at Woodlawn Cemetery

 

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I love jazz. I don’t have a favorite song or artist, I just love the sound. I have literally spent hours just listening to my jazz station on Pandora. It just puts me in a good mood. So, when I saw that Lincoln Center’s jazz orchestra was performing right here in the Bronx at Woodlawn Cemetery, I knew I had to attend. As a  well-known  final resting place for many famous musicians, the venue was the perfect venue for the show.

Led by the cool, calm, collected (and clever!) Wynton Marsalis, the orchestra kicked off the show with “The Dippermouth Blues.” The instruments were so crisp and clear, it almost sounded like a recording! The orchestra also covered songs from the likes of W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington (who is buried at the cemetery), Miles Davis, Celia Cruz, and Florence Mills. One of my favorite parts of the show was when Ali Jackson covered a Max Roach song. The rhythm of the drums captivated the crowd as it toyed with a steady, rumbling beat and switched to a low, rain-like pitter patter.

This was my first time visiting Woodlawn Cemetery and when I told some of my friends they all pause like “Oh…a cemetery…okay…” but just from the small glimpse I got walking in from the gate to the concert site, was enough to let me know I need to return ASAP. Though the concert was in honor of the cemetery’s 150th anniversary, I hope they consider hosting more live shows, because it’s such a great outdoor space.