Feeling Cultured

Feeling Cultured

Blog Post 39 - Photo 1

This past Sunday, I attended my first opera, Lyric Opera’s production of composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s “The Passenger.”

Attending the production fulfills a requirement for my Honors class and I’ll admit, going to see an opera is not something I would have otherwise thought to put on my weekend schedule. As it turns out, having “a virtually flawless performance” (Chicago Tribune) as my introduction to this musical genre sets a perfect example for how Loyola’s broad core curriculum enriches students’ education beyond the classroom. Obligating students like me, a computer science major, to unplug and enjoy the qualitative aspects of life offered by the dynamic city of Chicago, provides esoteric experiences that even the best apps and algorithms cannot replicate.

As critic John Von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune articulately puts it, “The Passenger” is at once a commemoration of Auschwitz and an allegory for postwar Germany’s coming to terms with its past.

The three-hour opera was performed in German, which meant I had to follow the subtitles. Though it sitting for three hours made me a little bit tired, I felt extremely cultured and fancy afterwards. This made me want to attend an opera in English where I would be able to focus my attention in the actors on stage instead of the subtitles.

The staging of the production was innovative and, recalling my brief stint, back in eighth grade, as a lighting technician for the middle school musical, I found the sets quite impressive. At floor level was a lower deck, representing the concentration camp where the main character, Liese, worked as a camp guard, while an elevated upper deck depicted Liese and her husband as they sailed to Brazil after WWII. On the ship, she thinks she recognizes a woman who was a former inmate at Auschwitz. The opera goes back as forth between the levels, a metaphorical architecture portraying Heaven and Hell.

I enjoyed an insightful and enjoyable maiden voyage to the Civic Opera House. I look forward to many more assignments like this one.



Image from: http://newimages.bwwstatic.com/upload10/663963/houstongrandopera-thepassenger-orchestrarehearsal-photographerlynnlane-59.jpg

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