Tragic tales of loss via the Minnesota Opera and the Minnesota Twins

Take a chance and read about my experience at the opera.  I promise baseball discussion will follow.

I received an invitation this week to attend the final dress rehearsal of the Minnesota Opera's production of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights. This was an exclusive invitation for a Bloggers' Preview Night. Since I have never been to an opera before (yes, I admit it) I decided I would be the perfect blogger to write about the experience.

We all gathered early and were treated to some wonderful appetizers from Sakura.  The conductor, Michael Christie, came over and talked to us about the opera and the Minnesota Opera's decision to stage this production. For those who are not familiar with Bernard Hermann, he wrote the scores for over 50 movies ranging from Citizen Kane in 1941 to Taxi Driver in 1975, finishing the final recording session before dying in his sleep. During this time he worked on several Alfred Hitchcock movies, most famously composing the music for the shower scene in Psycho. Although he finished the opera in 1951, it wasn't until 1982 that it was premiered by the Portland Opera. This is only the second production of this opera.

After our meeting with Christie we walked over to the Ordway and were seated in the upper tier of seats above many of the production people. It was interesting to be able to see all of the technical equipment used in this production and the number of people who are employed behind the scenes to bring a production to life. All of this work is hidden during the actual performances and audiences do not really get to appreciate this part of the industry. As a student advisor at the University of St. Thomas, I am constantly telling students to learn a skill that can be transferred into an environment that they are passionate about. It was exciting for me to see this advice actually turned into reality.

As stated earlier, I have not been to an opera before so I am not going to talk about the quality of this production since I have nothing to compare it to. My sister-in-law was with me and is also blogging about the evening; she had some definite observations that I hope she will share.

Enough about the opera—let's talk baseball. The Twins are off to such a rocky start that it is hard to find much to be excited about. Their record is 4-9 through Friday's loss to Tampa Bay. Their new second baseman from Japan, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, broke his leg covering second base during the team's first road trip. He was at Opening Day at Target Field on crutches, much to the disappointment of the fans and the large contingent of Japanese press covering the game. I understand the press stayed for the series to see Hideki Matsui, who is now playing for our opponents the Oakland Athletics. One nice thing about the misfortune of Nishioka is that it allowed Luke Hughes to come up from AAA and be the starting second baseman for the Twins' home opener. Imagine the excitement he felt when he got that call. He had a great spring season and it came down to the last roster decision before he found out he had not made the major league team to start the season. He arrived in time to be on the field and experience all of the festivities of Opening Day.

Joe Mauer missed two starts in a row this week and was first diagnosed with bilateral leg weakness and then a viral infection. He was scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Friday to see a specialist but instead landed in the hospital to be treated for flu symptons. For now the hope is that the flu is causing his weakness and soreness, rather than the cause being something more serious. Either way, he is on the 15-day disabled list, which leaves the Twins with Drew Butera as their primary catcher. Butera is a fine defensive catcher, but not a great hitter. Of course, with the way the Twins have been hitting, he should feel right at home. The team batting average right now is .234 and they have scored only 38 runs in 13 games. Pitching overall has been okay and the bullpen has been much better than anticipated. The Twins did manage to record two blown saves (by two all-star closers) in the game on Thursday night, which I missed while at the opera. If you are familiar with the story of Wuthering Heights, you know that it is a tragic tale of loss. I think many would say that the Twins season so far has been the same.

Twice in this past week I have woken up early thinking about my blog and what to write about.  Both times I had three thoughts in quick succession. The first was last Sunday when I woke to the sound of rain. My first thought was that I hoped the Twins would be able to play their game that day—my sister had a couple of those great tickets that are close to the action, but not close to any cover from the weather. Then I immediately thought about what I had left outside that was getting wet. My third thought was wondering if the sandbox was covered! The sandbox was not at my house but at my daughter's; I had been spending quite a bit of time over there with my grandchildren. Then a few days ago I woke up and thought in quick succession about baseball, taxes, and the opera. I had to laugh out loud at that, thinking that I had covered a wide range of topics in a very short time and that it would make a good story. The best news is that my first thought is still always about baseball.

I hope you like the picture I included today. It does not concern baseball, but I love my granddaughter's expression as she tackles that huge ice cream cone. I think the picture speaks summer and good times, and I guess that brings me back to baseball. Have a great week; hopefully the sun will shine soon on the Twins and on all of us.

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    Jean Gabler's picture
    Jean Gabler

    Jean Gabler (jmgabler [at] stthomas [dot] edu) is the assistant director for undergraduate business programs at the University of St. Thomas. She lives in Merriam Park.