Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cross Continental Connection

As many of you who have been following the blog already know, we were in Europe for two weeks earlier this month, including February 14th. On Valentine's I was sitting in our hotel lobby in Milan with my daughter Francesca having tea and exchanging small gifts. The German couple next to us exclaimed that what we were doing looked more like Christmas than Valentine's day (how American of us!), and we struck up a conversation.

As it turned out, the couple has come to Milan to celebrate their anniversary. Because she was an opera lover, her husband had brought his wife to Milan to see a show at the famed La Scala opera house. At this point, I asked which piece they were seeing. "Placido Domingo is playing the title role in "Cyrano de Bergerac," the woman explained. I immediately became very excited at the prospect of seeing this amazing performer in one of the most eloquent classical love stories. So, I inquired at the hotel's concierge desk about tickets. As luck would have it, there were still seats available-- THREE ROWS FROM THE STAGE.

The opera was breathtaking. It was the performance of a lifetime. It was not only Placido Domingo's voice that made his portrayal remarkable. He is also a virtuosic actor. When the show ended, the audience sprang from their seats. The cast received 15 curtain calls.

Placido Domingo as Cyrano.

This post is not just about the profound emotional effect of beautiful art, which is of course a very worthwhile topic on its own. This post is also about a story. It is about connecting across cultures. By engaging with two people whom I did not share a country, a language or a culture, I was able to learn about an incredible opportunity. I took this encounter as a lesson. If we keep ourselves open, and we are unafraid of reaching out, we can learn so much about how to live a better life.

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