Barbara and Robert Green, of Schaumburg, have subscribed to Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1969. They began attending the opera before they were married. They like their seats in the front section of the second balcony, where “we can see the whole stage because we’re above.” They also find supertitles easy to see from their seats. When they want to look at faces or the details of costumes, they bring binoculars.
One of Barb’s favorite operas is Carmen, because she first learned to love opera as a young girl, from listening to a recording of Carmen her mother had. Bob says of opera: “The music and the drama being put together is something I really appreciate, and that, I think, is what draws us.”
They come to Lyric Opera by Metra train. Their seats are for later in the run of an opera, so they like to listen to the opening night broadcasts on WFMT – not only to be familiar with the opera they will see, but to gauge the length and time so they can decide which train to take.
Bob, retired from work as a chemical engineer and computer programmer, remembers tenor Alfredo Kraus as a favorite singer. “One time, he was in an opera that had a ‘stage within a stage,’ and the set had flats, and he was supposed to beat on a table. He beat too loudly, and the flats came down. So they dropped the curtain, reset and went back to the beginning. This time he went to the table and pretended to beat it.”
The Greens are longtime members of First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple in downtown Chicago. Barb is chairperson of the United Methodist Women, and Bob works with the church’s Homeless Ministry at Grace Place, where several LOSA members have served.
Bob, a baritone, sings with the Temple Choir on Sunday mornings. He has also sung since the 1960s with the Gilbert and Sullivan Company at the University of Chicago. In addition to the chorus in all 14 G&S operas, he has appeared in baritone roles such as Pish-Tush in The Mikado and Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance.
In late August they are going to the Santa Fe Opera on a trip with former WFMT host Carl Grapentine, where they will see Bernstein’s Candide on the composer’s birthday. Then they look forward to the fall and another season at Lyric Opera!