Twin Cities Love Letters: Part II

I had grand ambitions of spending the last month of my time in the Twin Cities paying homage to the myriad things I'll miss about my home. Instead, I spent time with my family and friends, got way too into Rachel's season of "The Bachelorette," read a few books, and drank a LOT of drinks at a LOT of happy hours. 

Now I'm on the road to California with my fabulous mother, and have nothing better to do than write...so here we go! 

I will deeply, truly miss the arts scene in the Twin Cities, which was one of my primary sources of joy over the last six years. I have deeply entrenched myself in said scene, with over fifty ticketed events in the last calendar year. And said scene brings an absolutely immense amount of joy to my life. 

Orchestra Hall is practically my home away from home these days, and my Minnesota Orchestra musicians feel like my best friends (that I don't actually know in real life, oops). My raging silver-fox crush on Osmo Vänskä has not abated after his marriage to concertmaster Erin Keefe, I live for their movies-and-music concerts, and their guest performers have brought me to so many standing ovations that I can't keep count anymore. 

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I'm so in love with the orchestra that I followed them all over the Cities, from their Pint of Music chamber concerts at local breweries to Lake Harriet, where we showed up two hours early to ensure front row seats for this utter magic.

Fortunately, I have the San Francisco Symphony practically in my backyard, and am already getting excited to head to Davies Memorial Hall for this season's Bernstein centennial and their enormous repertoire under their conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas. 

Similarly, I've really gotten into the Minnesota Opera over the last few years, especially as Michael has been able to join me for our Tempo nights. While the Ordway's Grand Staircase and foyer always make me smile as is...

...it's when you throw some of the loveliest people in front of that view that it truly gets memorable. I have met some of my favorite Twin Cities/Minnesota acquaintances and friends through opera, and had such great experiences over the last few years...my first "Tosca" after the world's hastiest French dinner, a world premiere of a new work this May, and seeing my first Wagner production ("Das Rheingold," the Minnesota Opera's first stab at the Ring Cycle). 

Another opera highlight of this year was seeing the incomparable Renée Fleming through the Schubert Club this year, especially memorable as she officially "retired" from performing operas just this May! 

Of course, with the ranked-number-eight-in-the-world San Francisco Opera just up the highway, I won't be missing out on keeping opera in my life. What I will miss, however, is spending time with my fellow opera-loving friends enjoying it. I'm hoping to drag Laura and Dave to a few productions with me, but I'm most excited for next summer's full Ring Cycle...Michael and I are already planning his trip out for it and I can't wait!  

I'll miss driving past the Orpheum's light-up marquee, and taking pictures of the show signs on it every time we go to something. But San Francisco gets Equity performances from Broadway too, including (of course) "Hamilton," in its first tour stop. I think I'll be fine for Broadway. 

Truly irreplaceable, however, is my beloved Guthrie. I spent a very unproductive afternoon going through the list of shows in their past seasons, and ultimately came to the realization that I have seen 62 Guthrie productions in my life, starting with "A Christmas Carol" at the age of twelve and carrying through to the world premiere of "Refugia" just two weeks ago. 

The Guthrie holds a special place in my theater-loving heart. I blame it for my passion for Shakespeare, my expectation that any stage play be impeccably produced, have an immaculate set, and feature top-notch acting. I have my favorite "regulars" in their shows, and have found new favorites through actors making their debut. While they have staged a few things I didn't love (um, hi, "Mr Burns, a Post-Electric Play"), I have rarely left the Guthrie without a sense of total satisfaction and well-being.

It's also going to be ridiculously hard to replace the black-tie lifestyle my arts involvement has enabled. By being one of the most active young arts patrons in the Twin Cities, I've ended up on the list for galas galore (alliteration intended, of course), and I've come to really love getting dressed up and celebrating the arts to benefit the arts. From last summer's glittering Diamond Anniversary "Rhapsody in Blue" orchestra gala...

...to April's "Springtime in Paris" benefit for the Ordway, I've had a ball (and quite a lot of champagne). This year's Orchestra Ball theme is "A Night on the Silk Road," and the featured performer for the June 24th event is Dessa. The Guthrie is throwing a huge gala the night before, featuring Bernadette Peters, and I had access to tickets for both. To say I'm crushed to miss them is a massive understatement. I'll have to satisfy myself with this fall's San Francisco Opera Ball, I suppose! 

   

 

 

Here's to the Twin Cities arts scene...and to the void that the lack of that world will leave in my life. Can't wait to come back and make concerts, shows and operas a priority every time I head back to Minnesota!