In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Intern Ramblings: Opera & Gum

Dec 12, 2011 9:36:00 AM
By BLO Staff

I only chew gum when I’m at work. I used to chew gum all the time,
but gave it up when I was seven because my mom said I chew like a cow.

Don’t tell my mother, but every time I work at my internship at Boston Lyric
Opera, I pop a piece of gum in my mouth and start filling subscription orders
and filing ticket forms. Initially, I thought this gum habit began because the
first couple of days I worked at BLO I didn’t want to offend my new colleagues
with any lingering lunchtime breath. I chewed a piece of gum. The habit stuck. However,
I think that this habit is more than just a way to freshen my breath.
Freshman year of college is like throwing your life into a blender
and praying the end result isn’t too messy. I find there are very few constants
as my life changed over the past few months: my hair still doesn’t cooperate, I
still like to talk, (much to my roommates’ dismay) and I still love the rush of
putting on a show, from anywhere, playing any role in the process.

So here I am -- at Boston Lyric Opera -- learning what happens behind the
curtain. It may seem odd, but filing paperwork and will-call tickets is
therapeutic. I chew my gum, file forms, sing “Merrily We Roll Along” to myself
and work alongside some really cool people. I learn not only about the
mechanics getting a ticket into the patron’s hand, but also about this little
thing called opera.
I admit the extent of my opera knowledge is limited to the episode
of "Hey Arnold" where the students of PS 118 dream themselves in
Carmen (Lyrics include: “My name’s Don Arnold, please have a caramel; your hair
is lovely, do you like my pants,” it is a must-see). I don’t speak Italian,
German or French. However, I speak theatre.
I know the excitement of sitting in a seat, program in hand,
gazing around at the architecture of the performance space. And the only way
you get there is with a ticket. Maybe I handled yours.
Although the rush of college is great, sometimes, in between
T-rides and Anthropology homework, what I need is to organize will-call
tickets, listen to The Barber of Seville
and chew some gum. Working for Boston Lyric Opera is an entirely new experience
for me and I appreciate every second of it.
--Elyssa Sternberg, Boston University '15

Topics: behind the scenes, opera knowledge, Student Posts, BLO Bunch Introductions

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