Over the edge
Over the edge of the orchestra pit, I mean. The musicians are there every show, it's the audience that's different. We look and enjoy the various interesting and odd people who assemble facing us, we facing them.
Yesterday before the 1:30 matinee of Don Giovanni at the New York City Opera, a mother and her son of about 8 years old, walked into the front row of the State Theater. The look on the boy's face as he surveyed the orchestra pit was one of such wonder and anticipation. Eyes wide, mouth agape, he quickly turned to his mother as if to say, "You mean I'm going to experience ALL of THIS???" and his gaze shot back to the pit.
Their seats were dead center right behind the conductor. When David Wroe walked in for his bow, the boy became even more excited, so close to the center of attention. With the opening chords, he lifted from his seat, and spent the whole overture leaning over the conductors shoulder, eyes darting between baton and musicians. It's just how I would have reacted.
On the M104 going home, I thought about how vital and important this performance must have felt to him. It felt that way to me, too.