Last night my wife and I went to the Metropolitan Opera to see John Adams' opera "Nixon in China" directed by Peter Sellars, conducted by Adams himself. There right in front of me sat Seth Godin, his baldness shining in the chandeliered glow of the great auditorium.
At intermission I introduced myself and we started talking.
"This is only my second opera," said Godin, "I was expecting it to be more sonically impressive."
"Well, this is a modern opera," I explained. "And Adams is a bit atonal. Kind of like Nixon himself and the era in which he presided. If you want sonic power, see something by Puccini or Verdi or Donizetti."
At one point in the first act, Air Force One emerged as a character. Its door slid open and Nixon and Pat emerged.
"That was a pretty impressive set," my wife offered.
"It annoyed me," said Godin. "What was the point of having the door open the wrong way. Did it have something to do with the opera, or was it just wrong?" he asked.
I couldn't answer that.
"What prompted you to see an opera?" I asked.
"We had never been," said Godin. "We got the tickets just four hours ago."
The lights then dimmed and the second act began.
Godin left at the end of the second act, leaving before the strangely anti-climactic third act.