You have to shake your head at some of things you overhear during intermission. For example, this past Friday at the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s opening night of LuLu (Marlis Petersen was fantastic), I was standing around during the first intermission minding my own business enjoying the view of the building’s grand foyer when two patrons walked up next to me and engaged in one of the most remarkable conversations I’ve overheard in some time…
Man #1: “There sure is a big crowd here tonight. [pause] But I don’t see any black people.”
Man #2: “I don’t think black people go to the opera.”
Man #1: “At least I know it’s that way in St. Louis.”
I didn’t have the heart (or stomach) to point out the group of black patrons immediately behind them or the fact that beginning next week, the Lyric begins their production of Porgy and Bess. I don’t think they could have handled the news that blacks not only go to the opera but write and perform in them as well (and even become president!).