After a quick trip on Amtrak to Seattle last weekend for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions (Nicole Haslett, 25, a Portland soprano, won!!!) we’ve become instant fans of Haslett, Amtrak and the Seattle Seahawks.
Mind you, we have never been professional football fans, in fact the last time we cheered for a football team was in high school, many decades ago. But as we walked up from the train station toward Benaroya Hall, where the auditions were going to be, we were met by dozens of Seahawks fans in full fan regalia, coming the other way toward the stadium, which is right by the Amtrak station.
At first we didn’t know what all the 12s scattered around on flags and in windows meant, but now we do – it’s for the 12th man on the team – the fans! It’s hard not to get caught up in the spirit.
After the auditions, we grabbed a bite to eat, then went upstairs in our bargain hotel to change for the banquet, which was being held a block away at the Fairmount Olympic Hotel, formerly the Four Seasons Hotel – Seattle’s finest luxury hotel. We were a bit early, so got a copy of the local paper – the Seattle Times? can’t remember – and sat down to read and wait for dinner to start.
Suddenly, there was a loud shout of enthusiasm coming from all corners of the huge lobby – yep – the astounding winning play by the Seahawks. Who knew? That was enough to feel part of the whole thing. Now, it’s on to the Super Bowl. Guess we’ll have to watch it.
The banquet was wonderful. Fewer than 100 people, about half of whom were opera company staff and volunteers and half were donors. Staff is always very friendly to donors, so no one ever feels left out. The food was fabulous – all very Pacific Northwest: salad w/hazelnuts, salmon, of course, but not with that old cliche, dill, and marionberry cobbler. And with all chi-chi restaurants, there was just enough food, not too much.
What do we learn from this? That it does you good to get out once in a while!