Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve made it to December 31. This is the night that, as Neil Degrasse Tyson likes to point out, we humans have chosen arbitrarily to mark the end of another cycle around our sun. It’s a time that we humans have also chosen arbitrarily to make attempts to better ourselves.
I’ve never successfully kept a New Years resolution for the full year. One year I lost 30 pounds by my birthday in August, and every last one was back by Christmas. Then, there was the year I decided to knit a sweater a month. I don’t think I even completed one.
For 2012, I chose my resolution a little differently: I decided to set a resolution that I knew I would enjoy keeping. This time last year, I decided that, while there are so many arts and cultural goings-on here in Washington D.C., and the area surrounding it, and I often read about this exhibition, or that concert, I never go.
Why don’t I ever go to these events that I know I’d enjoy? Because I spend all my money on opera tickets.
So for 2012, I resolved to “enjoy more art that is not opera.” And I set the following criteria to define success for myself:
- See a ballet
- Attend a classical music concert that has no singing
- Attend a gallery exhibition
- See a play
As of today, December 31, 2012, I’m 2 for 2.
I did see a play with my friend Millie and her husband. A Neil Simon comedy set in a 1950’s television writers’ room.
Then I saw Così Fan Tutte, Nabucco, and Werther presented by the Washington National Opera. I went to New York and saw an opera live at the Met for the first time. I saw my friend Michael’s trio of short operas Fallen Angels. I saw friends star in local productions of Die Fledermaus, Trial by Jury, and The Sorcerer. I attended a strange, minimalist performance art piece that was billed as an opera, starring certified barihunk Michael Mayes. I saw probably half a dozen MetHD broadcasts, several radio broadcasts as well. I even sang in a few operas myself!
Then, in December, I saw my friend Erica perform as a featured soloist in a choral concert that was held at the National Gallery of Art, which allowed me to (sort of) tic off the third criterion of my resolution.
So, if we take my resolution at purely face value, I suppose you could call it a success. I did enjoy more art that is not opera. I also enjoyed (and sometimes found myself unable to enjoy–I’m looking at you beautifully sung, but boring as hell Met Ernani) an enormous amount of opera.
But I still haven’t gotten out to the ballet, even though I am mesmerized by dancers and find their art to be utterly sublime. Even though every time I see ads for the ballets being produced at the Kennedy Center I think, that looks fantastic! And I still haven’t been to any orchestral or chamber music concerts even though there is such an abundance of them in this city.
So here’s what I’m going to do: just carry those two over into 2013. I’ve already decided that I need to enjoy more music that doesn’t include singers. Some of that music will have to be enjoyed live and in person. So here’s the 2013 resolution:
- Listen to more non-vocal classical music, and discuss it in the No Voices Allowed listening club.
- Attend a live concert of orchestral or chamber music.
- Go to the god damned ballet already! Yeesh!