A Night at the Opera with Thiago Arancam & Co.

Placido Domingo and Thiago Arancam

Thanks to the thoughtfulness of the classiest friend anyone could ever ask for,  this outdoorsman, my wife  and my two Army buddies, Stacy and Steve recently had a wonderful night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. We took in a beautiful performance of Madama Butterfly on March 8th, where our new friend Thiago Arancam was the  tenor.  Thiago and his wife Michela are staying with Stacy in D.C., while he performs this month – this run  at the Kennedy Center goes through March 19th.

Neither I nor my wife had ever been to the opera, but Stacy gave us, and Steve, tickets as a gift to celebrate my and Steve’s recent return from Baghdad. We also found out the night before that my wife is pregnant, so it was a real celebration. It was so wonderful to go to the Kennedy Center again. My wife and I saw the Nutcracker ballet there in 2008, so we knew we were in for a treat.

I am not a critic, so I can’t describe how wonderful the opera was in the proper terms or render honors to the performers sufficiently. So let me just tell you that I was moved to the depths of my soul by the majesty of God’s handiwork expressed through the maestro Plácido Domingo, tenor Thiago Arancam (Pinkerton), soprano Ana Maria Martínez (Cio-Cio-San) and baritone  Hyung Yun (Sharpless).

After the show we were invited to have dinner with Thiago, his wife and Stacy. We were joined at Clyde’s in Georgetown by Hyung Yun,  and John Marcus Bindel – a really great guy and a renowned baritone, who has performed with Thiago before.  John had us all laughing non-stop and I am sorry my wife and I had to leave as early as we did. Who would have known that opera singers were so cool? I guess if you do what you love for a living, and that happens to be singing beautiful music…

What does this have to do with the Great Outdoors in Northern Virginia, you ask? Well, access to the arts, great museums and our nation’s history – all while being near some of the best paddling, fishing,  hiking, camping and hunting in the country is what makes living in NOVA so exciting.

As it turns out, Michela was an amateur practical pistol shooting competitor in Italy a while back. Thiago has never been shooting and has heard it is great fun, so we made plans to bring the gang down to my hunting lease in Spotsylvania county for a day of target shooting and plinking soda cans at the end of the month.

I’ll let you all know how it goes at the range in a few weeks. In the meantime, visit Thiago’s website and hear for yourself what an awesome voice he has, and if you can’t make this run of Madama Butterfly, catch him in Tosca at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, next month.


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