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A refreshing day filled with art and basketball

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Variety makes life interesting. On a recent Saturday, I play basketball for two hours and spend six hours at the Metropolitan Opera at a performance of Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg."

Wagner wanted audiences to prepare themselves on the day of performance by studying the libretto. "Meistersinger" being one of my favorite operas, I feel no need to prepare.

What would Wagner's view on playing basketball before a performance be? We shall never know, since the game, invented by James Naismith in 1891, came after Wagner.

While at the gym, I give playing tips to a young player. Here, you might say, I take on the role of Hans Sachs, shoemaker and Meistersinger of Nürnberg, who coaches Walther von Stolzing to compete in the song contest.

A 6 p.m. curtain raises a critical question: When do you eat? Early.

At 4:30, I partake of grilled chicken with cranberry sauce at home. Then I take my bicycle down to the street for the ride across the park to the opera.

So many sights along the way. Steam issuing forth from a manhole cover. (Nibelung beneath the street preparing supper?) Hot-dog vendors loading their carts onto trucks. A statue of Daniel Webster. Strings of lights on trees at Tavern on the Green. I cross the finish line crossed by tens of thousands of marathon runners weeks ago. Posters in glass cases outside the Metropolitan Opera announce future performances of "Arabella," "La Traviata," and "Madama Butterfly."

I am in the Family Circle, the cheapest seats in the house, but the best for listening. Binoculars are a must.

The crystal chandeliers dim and slowly rise to the ceiling. Silence in the darkened opera house. Then applause for conductor James Levine and the Met Orchestra, followed by the glorious prelude to "Meistersinger."


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