Most of the time, my day job–a seasonal one–does not overlap the baseball season by more than a month or so on either end. Citi Field in April is often freezing, so any disappointment I have about missing games here and there because of performances I must play at the Met is mitigated by at least knowing that I’ll be warm and dry in the pit that day or evening. With “meaningless” games in September being pretty much a Queens hallmark, and with the start of school for my daughter and the resumption of work for me demanding our attention, being obligated to perform at the Met and having to miss a game in September has often been something of a relief.
This year, it’s different. Way different.
Once it was determined that Citi Field would see its first ever post-season game this past Monday, I was both ecstatic and crushed. While there can be some flexibility in my schedule, Monday’s opera was Wagner Tannhaüser with Maestro James Levine conducting. It had probably been scheduled as such five years ago.
As accommodating and sympathetic as our Orchestra Manager is in general and to this dilemma in particular, he basically told me that my “team” needed me at the Met. As disappointed as I was, I reminded myself that–just as with relief pitchers–fine musicians are “specialists” at what we do: not just anyone can be “called up” to replace us, even with advance notice.
Like all Mets fans, I was thrilled that the Mets beat Kershaw in Game 1 in Los Angeles. For me, the win took on even more significance: I now knew that I would be able to attend at least ONE post-season game at Citi Field–Game 4 of the series.
I’m glad I was there, but they didn’t win and the series would not be decided in four games. A return to Los Angeles and an additional game would be required. And, wouldn’t you know it, Game 5 will be played while I am involved in playing–you guessed it: Tannhaüser at the Met.
As on Monday night, the curtain for tonight’s performance of Tannhaüser is 7PM. The three acts with intermissions (during which I can find out what’s going on at Dodger Stadium), total about four and a half hours.
I couldn’t be at Citi Field for Game 3, and I cannot be near a television tonight for Game 5. That said, a repeat of last Monday’s performance–both baritone Peter Mattei’s heart-rending portrayal of Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Mets stellar offense and victory–will be most welcome nice again.
When I hear Mattei’s meltingly gorgeous rendition of O du, mein holder Abendstern (Ode to the Evening Star) in Scene II of Act III, I’ll be offering my own inward prayer that there will be a star shining over Chavez Ravine to guide my Mets to victory and a trip home to play Chicago–whether I’m in attendance for Game 1 of the NLCS at Citi Field or not!
Let’s Go Mets!