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Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

From a BLO Intern: “When I opened a magic box called opera”

Dec 23, 2014 1:00:00 PM
By BLO Staff

Queenie Fang joined the BLO team as an Education and Community Programs Intern in July 2014. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Queenie came to Boston in 2013 as a student and recently earned her master’s degree from Boston University in Arts Administration. Queenie will continue on with BLO as an intern through June; we asked her to reflect on the first half of her time here and what she has learned so far.

When I opened a magic box called opera...
by Queenie Fang

This summer, I received a magic box called opera from BLO. Excited and
curious, I started a journey to explore where this box would take me.
With no exposure to opera before, this journey has brought me so many
surprises and my preconceived notions about opera have been easily
broken.

When I opened
the box and started experiencing opera, I realized that opera does not
have to be the stereotypical, high-brow event that people usually think
of. It can be easily accessible to the general public. BLO not only
offers discount tickets and fun contests to give away tickets for
mainstage opera productions, it also provides interesting educational
events throughout the city. For example, the first major project that I
worked on as an intern was the BLO’s annual summer concert with the
Boston Landmarks Orchestra, an event that is free and open to the
public. The program provides a sneak peek at the upcoming season, and
this year every audience member could take home a BLO customized fan!


When I opened the box, I got the chance to experience “all-in-one performance art.” One of the perks of interning at BLO is that I am able to attend all of the mainstage productions. La Traviata at BLO this fall was the first opera I’ve ever seen. The story is so famous and well-known that, at first, my expectations were not high. However, I was completely blown away, and so were my friends, who are also opera newbies. At the end of the show, they told me that before the show, they thought they might fall asleep, but when the show started, they found themselves captivated by the story and enchanted by the chorus.

When I opened the box, I saw the importance of good teamwork and driven, passionate colleagues. I feel very comfortable working with my colleagues, and they always make themselves available to others to provide assistance. I learned that to ensure a superb performance, not only do the singers, conductors, and orchestra members have to do their jobs well, but the stage management and production staff members complement their work by keeping everything running smoothly and free from distractions. I also learned that different departments work together closely to fulfill the organization’s mission: to build curiosity, enthusiasm, and support for opera by creating musically and theatrically compelling productions, events, and educational resources for our community and beyond. Therefore, various educational programs have been developed for opera fans of all ages and experience levels to enhance the enjoyment of an opera performance. Their good teamwork reminds me of an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

When I opened the box, I also got a sense of belonging. I’m sure for every novice job candidate, it feels awesome to attend professional events with a job title. I will never forget how excited I was when I got into the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through its staff entrance, because on that day, BLO was holding an opera lecture. Besides, as an international student who just came to the States one year ago, being able to work with those super nice people, and learn from them, has given me a sense of belonging.

When I opened the box, I received a more enriched life. I’ve had so many “firsts” during my internship! First time attending a live opera; first time witnessing a temple transformed into an opera stage; first time helping with a special event; first time assisting with organizing auditions; first time going on a backstage tour, and much more! All these experiences are so precious. I learned what happens behind the curtain; I got to know the elements of a great show, with wonderful singing and acting and a very strong visual presentation; I was inspired to build support for art in my own country… When you open one door, it may lead you to a whole new world. Just keep an open mind, and keep trying – the world is full of interesting things for us to explore.

It’s holiday season again, and I’m glad that I’ve already witnessed the power of my magic box. What do you expect to get when you open your holiday gifts? Maybe on Christmas Eve, you will receive a magic box too. Don’t be afraid to open it, let’s see where it can take you. Happy holidays!

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