A Night at the Opera Is Anything But Monkey Business!

A Marx Brothers comedy gem is the film, “A Night at the Opera,” in which they lampoon the stuffiness of fans of this classical theatrical form.

But there are serious insights and lessons to be gleaned from the REAL opera, which I’ve only recently been attending with any regularity.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing Verde’s “La Traviata,” starring amazing soprano, Renee Fleming.

Apart from the soaring voices and tragic story, what stirred me was something I’ve experienced elsewhere, seeing great theater in New York and London.

In a word, it’s EXCELLENCE.

The world of opera is uncompromising. Greatness and perfection are appreciated, understood, and above all, demanded by discerning fans and trigger happy critics.

You can’t get away with serving up the mediocre.

Last week, at another Verde opera, “Don Carlo,” a rotund gentleman sitting in front of me in “The Founders’ Circle,” complained to his neighbors, “I don’t know where they got that soprano!”

Unceremoniously, he left the theater before the final act had concluded; a slap in the face to the performers and the director.

He knows quality when he hears it, and he simply won’t tolerate anything less than world class performances.

Compare this attitude with what legendary sales trainer, Zig Ziglar, has derisively referred to as “The Get-By.”

The Get-By is an effort that is adequate, just enough to pass, to not be completely and utterly rejected by the masses. Pretenders of all kinds, poseurs, con men and women, as well as the simply and blandly average, perform at the Get-By level.

Excellence doesn’t happen without intelligent and sustained efforts, exertions that are monitored, measured and managed by the performers, their overseers, and by their publics.

The opera reminded me that a mere “search” for excellence, as one author put it, is inadequate.

We have to produce it, each and every one of us, who aspires to an exceptional life, one that is filled with genuine achievement, deep experiences, and rare pleasures.