La Fanciulla del Met This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 2, 2011
The frighteningly rickety elevator lurched to a stop, and after several moments, its doors jerked open. Our tour group spilled out of the cramped space and squeezed into the narrow, unadorned halls of the Metropolitan Opera House. I felt somewhat like a spy on a secret mission, slinking through the Met’s dimly-lit, normally inaccessible underground quarters. Smiling to myself, I wondered whether the singers and conductors whom I so admired were mere inches away from me, behind one of the many doors that dotted the hall. Maestro Levine could definitely be on this floor, as well at the tenor Juan Diego Florez, and maybe even—

No. There is no way, no way at all, that he could be here.

A nudge drove into my side. I jolted and turned to my mom, who was looking at me strangely, her head cocked.

“What?” I hissed, somewhat ticked off at being shaken out of my reverie.

My mom whispered, “Muse, doesn’t that sound like Kaufmann singing?”

I inhaled sharply.

“What do you mean?”

“Listen.”

I frowned. At first, I couldn’t hear anything over the babble of my fellow tourists’ voices. Then, soaring through the air, I heard it—that absolutely unmistakable timbre, that voice like warm, sticky honey.

For a moment, I froze, transfixed. Then, laughing, I shook my head.

“Nah,” I chuckled to my mom, though my voice quavered. “It—it can’t be him. That’d be too, uh, coincidental.”

“But listen,” she insisted as we tried to keep up with our group. “Really! It sounds like—”

Suddenly, as we passed a door with a smudged, miniscule window, the voice grew extremely loud. I couldn’t take it any longer. Quickly slipping away from the rest of the group, I pressed myself against the door. I went onto my tip-toes, peering through the window excitedly. There was a bunch of people inside, hustling around and yelling commands at each other.
But Jonas Kaufmann wasn’t there.
My heart sank. Nobody was even singing in that room. I realized that the voice we heard was just a recording.

I began to turn away, masking my disappointment. Then, my mom tapped me on the shoulder.
“Muse,” she said slowly, “he just walked in.”

I stared at her.

“What?”

“He. Just. Walked. In.”

I studied my mom, trying to figure out whether she was joking before I made myself feel silly by actually looking. Then, indecisively, I glanced furtively back into the window.
Striding through the room, his unruly dark curls tucked behind his ear, his lips curled up in the adorably mischievious smile I had seen only in pictures, was the tenor I had idolized for nearly a year: Jonas Kaufmann.
My toes clenched as I tried not to start running around like a crazy girl. My lip quivered as I fought down a happy squeal.
“Oh my God,” I breathed, over and over again. “Oh my God.”
Gently, my mom peeled me away from the door.
“We have to go,” she explained, somewhat sympathetically.
Not quite registering what she was saying, I let her drag me back to the rest of the group and into the elevator.





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