Monday, December 12, 2011

Intern Ramblings: Opera & Gum

I only chew gum when I’m at work. I used to chew gum all the time, but gave it up when I was seven because my mom said I chew like a cow.

Don’t tell my mother, but every time I work at my internship at Boston Lyric Opera, I pop a piece of gum in my mouth and start filling subscription orders and filing ticket forms. Initially, I thought this gum habit began because the first couple of days I worked at BLO I didn’t want to offend my new colleagues with any lingering lunchtime breath. I chewed a piece of gum. The habit stuck. However, I think that this habit is more than just a way to freshen my breath.

Freshman year of college is like throwing your life into a blender and praying the end result isn’t too messy. I find there are very few constants as my life changed over the past few months: my hair still doesn’t cooperate, I still like to talk, (much to my roommates’ dismay) and I still love the rush of putting on a show, from anywhere, playing any role in the process.

So here I am -- at Boston Lyric Opera -- learning what happens behind the curtain. It may seem odd, but filing paperwork and will-call tickets is therapeutic. I chew my gum, file forms, sing “Merrily We Roll Along” to myself and work alongside some really cool people. I learn not only about the mechanics getting a ticket into the patron’s hand, but also about this little thing called opera.

I admit the extent of my opera knowledge is limited to the episode of "Hey Arnold" where the students of PS 118 dream themselves in Carmen (Lyrics include: “My name’s Don Arnold, please have a caramel; your hair is lovely, do you like my pants,” it is a must-see). I don’t speak Italian, German or French. However, I speak theatre.

I know the excitement of sitting in a seat, program in hand, gazing around at the architecture of the performance space. And the only way you get there is with a ticket. Maybe I handled yours.

Although the rush of college is great, sometimes, in between T-rides and Anthropology homework, what I need is to organize will-call tickets, listen to The Barber of Seville and chew some gum. Working for Boston Lyric Opera is an entirely new experience for me and I appreciate every second of it.

--Elyssa Sternberg, Boston University '15

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