The old saying that "the show must go on" did not apply during Hurricane Sandy. Never mind the raging storm; it's hard to put on a show when there's no transportation for the audience – or the performers – to get to the theater. After cancelling performances for two days, the Met returned Wednesday with – ironically – a scheduled performance of The Tempest, an opera based on Shakespeare by the contemporary composer Thomas Adès (who also conducted).
Musicians were there, including Met Orchestra violinist Amy Kauffman, who said she walked to Lincoln Center from Harlem. And the house was pretty full. According to the Met, 2,500 out of a possible 3,800 people showed up. The audience included Gerald Leitner, a grey-bearded New Yorker who got to the Met by bus and by foot. He's one of the hundreds of thousands who lost power in the storm.
I, on the other hand, had spent the past three days listening to – and working alongside – the astounding WNYC news team, watching them running on fumes, continuing to keep the city and the world informed about Sandy and her aftermath. And of course, there were the images of the aftermath – the devastation of lost lives and lost homes, and the enormity of the impending clean-up. So I shouldn't have been surprised – but I was – at my reaction to the opening scene of The Tempest. Watching an onstage sea swell to engulf people and ships, accompanied by Adès's powerful music, I found myself dissolved in tears.
And then, there was the young flutist I met at intermission – named Sandy.