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Jason and I are standing in line for the student and senior rush tickets for the San Francisco Opera. And yes, we are, as usual, the youngest people in line. It occurs to me that this will be our last season of inexpensive tickets until we hit retirement age, and it makes me a little sad. We’ve exercised our student ID cards will voracity. We have been to operas, ballets, symphonies, concerts, art shows, and museums for a fraction of their cost.

Last week, we were treated to La Traviata from Row O (floor) of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House for $27 a ticket. Our seats normally cost $250 a piece. This week, we’re getting tickets for Madame Butterfly.
Oxford was particularly lovely. The summer Baroque series held events all across the town in churches, the Sheldonian, and at colleges. We usually paid only £5 – £15 a ticket and we were often seated in the first or second tier. We had a delightful season of the Pacific Northwest Ballet a few years ago. And we discovered that most large productions have a pre-show talk and sometimes a post-show talk. These are always fantastic and well worth the extra hour.

More than anything, our tastes have slowly shifted during our graduate tenure. We’ve both gained a new appreciation for the time and energy, dedication and passion that emerge before us as we sit encircled in the art. We have enjoyed intimate concerts with world class musicians, moving operas with world ranked singers, and been swept away by gorgeous dancers. I have cried in more theaters than I care to count.

For all of the difficult work that we do, we have found a new kind of release in the arts. It is edifying to be reminded that there is deep beauty in the world. That for as much as we study the death and precarity of others, that life is still worth celebrating. The voices, the bodies, the instrumentation of the people who dedicate their lives to the arts remind us to stay open and to remember the beauty all around us. And we have so appreciated the student IDs that have made all of this so affordable.