My husband and I were invited to an event this weekend that was new for us – a youth opera. The LA Opera sponsors a summer youth opera camp. The kids performed on Saturday, August 5, at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. This summer’s opera was the work of a Jewish Czech composer, Hans Krása, called Brundibár. Children in a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia first performed the opera during the Holocaust. The LA Opera summer camp group also performed Friedl, an opera about a real woman who secretly taught the children art in a concentration camp.
During the Holocaust, Brundibár and Friedl helped children keep hope alive. If they could keep their spirits from being crushed by their circumstances, they would frustrate the enemy. This was a powerful reminder of ways to keep the spirit strong, and how art, at times a nonviolent subversive activity, can keep one strong.
I appreciate how the L.A. Opera not only gives children an introduction to opera, a chance to grow and perform, but helps them understand the history behind the opera as well. Knowing the responsibility an artist has to change the world for the better is essential to using gifts and skills well.
I am friends with the family of one of the lead performers, a 10-year old with as much talent as passion for music and theater. He is also a former student, from my days as a visiting teacher with homeschooled children. It was truly a privilege to see him in action, and this was our first chance to do so. Besides being so proud of him, we had a culturally engaging afternoon, witnessing and learning about the two operas performed.
After the 4:00pm performance, we were ready for dinner. Being in a neighborhood less familiar to us, we decided to try a new place to eat. But where do we start? These days, we go to the phone app Yelp. I entered “gastropub” and our location. Morrison’s, about ten minutes away, came up with good reviews, so we gave it a try.
We had a delightful dinner, seated outside near the sidewalk. Having read the Yelp reviews, we selected some food that was recommended by others, sharing the slider burgers, the BLVD salad, and the macaroni and cheese. Did I mention the homemade pickles?
We finished with the famous bread pudding. The evening weather was comfortable, the conversation enjoyable, and the food was delicious and different from eating at home. A great experience!
And we found growth in unexpected places – an interesting opera that originated for children during the Holocaust, contributing to their strength of spirit, and a new restaurant experience in another community. A great summer afternoon and evening! And anytime you can invest in the life of a child, we all are better for it. Stay open to new experiences. We grow through adventure. What did you do this weekend?
Stay charming, my friends!