How American Gladiators Made Me Love Opera

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How American Gladiators Made Me Love Opera


When I was nine years old, my family started a tradition that changed the course of my life. We had recently moved to Dallas from Philadelphia, and I was getting ready to go into whatever grade kids that age went into. But one Saturday evening, I went with my mom and dad down to Fair Park to the Music Hall and saw my first opera, Faust. I barely was interested, but to a young boy, the idea of a demon dragging someone down to hell was quite intriguing. I didn’t know it then, but Mephistopheles was my gateway drug to arias. More important to me, though, was that the opera ended at 10:30pm on a Saturday night, well after my normal bedtime, and on late night tv after the opera was American Gladiators, a show I could never watch otherwise.


What Is This Post Doing Here?

Why am I talking about opera? So this is the first in a series of posts I will be writing over the next year or so. Last year I was honored to join the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera, and just last month, I was doubly honored to be asked to join the Executive Committee of the Opera. One of my goals in joining the board was to help demystify opera and show how my love and fascination has grown over the years. To do this, I will be bringing you stories and vignettes from behind the scenes of one of the best opera companies in the US. 


Let’s Get Started

It was American Gladiators that made me look forward to the opera for the first year of my experience, but it was the opera itself that made me stick around for the next 26. Let’s be upfront here: I’m not paid by the Dallas Opera (or any other group), I’m not some opera purist stuck in the 1800’s, and most importantly, I will tell you the good and the bad.

Possible unpopular opinion: not all opera is interesting. To me, the magic of opera is the performance. The music is amazing, the singing is awesome, but for my visual mind, the interplay of both of those things with the set design and choreography is what I love so much. I almost never pop on an opera on a road trip or at work. But for five (or six) nights a year, being there, seeing how so many arts are combined… well, there’s nothing better.


Till Next Time

I hope my love for opera comes through in this series of posts. And if you ever want to come to the opera, just drop me a line. It really is true, opera is for everyone; even a nine year old boy who just wanted to watch American Gladiators.



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