The Met Opera Chorus Recommends: Gifts for the Holidays!

An exhaustive gift guide for the opera lover in your life from the Metropolitan Opera Chorus!

By Edward Hanlon

     It’s that time of year!  The annual season of love, joy and family.  Oh… and gifts… gifts are kind of a thing this time of year too!  With that in mind, the Met Opera Chorus have put their collective heads together to find the perfect gift for your biggest opera loving friend or family member.  So, without further ado, to the list!

For everyone:

Chorus is the new black! Try out these new snazzy Met Chorus Artists shirts and hats. Support your favorite chorus in the world and look sharp while doing it!

For the last-minute Christmas carder:

The world’s opera orchestra not only plays a mean Nabucco, but they also have a fantastic cartoonist who illustrates the trials and tribulations that come with the job; Emmanuelle Ayrton has released a series of Christmas cards, so head over to their website and check them out along with all the other Met Orchestra gear they’ve got for sale!

For the “let’s stay inside and drink hot toddies” opera lover:

Who doesn’t need another mug!?!?! I certainly always do! Celebrate the Met Opera House’s 50th anniversary with your favorite hot beverage 1 .

The Recording that you need to own.  Dare I say it? The greatest opera recording ever:

What is the greatest opera recording ever? Not an easy question to answer! But I’m going to give it a shot anyway. So here it is: a live recording of Turandot from 1966 with Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, Mirella Freni and Bonaldo Giaiotti conducted by Zubin Mehta. There are no arguments against it being the greatest thing ever. End. Of. Story. 2

For that special (though slightly cold) Brünnhilde in your life:

It's happened to the best of us. We're walking along, singing some fantastic Wagnerian high notes and then our ears get cold! Thank goodness they have the answer to that particularly troublesome issue at the Met Opera Shop!

For the slightly spooky, slightly cooky opera lover:

Edward Gorey is the best. I will accept no argument on that front. The pantheon of great artists goes something like this: Monet, El Greco, Matisse, and Edward Gorey 3 . And, to top it off, he loved opera. With that in mind this print is looking kind of like a no-lose situation !

For your tenor friend:

Let’s be clear about this: tenors are, at best, a necessary evil 4 . But, even I have to admit there have been some good ones. Check out this fantastic book on the great tenors who sing and have sung at the Met available at the Met Opera Shop.

For the person who likes Mozart… I mean really... really likes Mozart…

The newest, longest, most authoritativest collection of Mozart ever! It’s 225 discs long and apparently was the most-sold CD in the world last year (take that Drake!)

For the opera lover who has everything:

This is the big one. I’ve had a crush on the Sputnik chandeliers since stepping on the Met stage 3 years ago but did you know that you could actually own a piece of the Tiffany original? In the Met Opera Shop it says “price available upon request” 5 but still… it’s just kind of nice to know it’s there...

For the us all. For our future: 

The holidays can be a lot of fun and there is so much joy to be found in the act of giving gifts to those you love. However, it's not just a time to think about the people you know, but everyone, and to spread some of that joy a little wider. There are so many organizations doing great work that could use our help this time of year. Arts to Grow and Feed Your Mind Music are two local New York groups so please, go to their websites, learn about them and do what you can to help 6 !

Edward Hanlon, graduate of McGill University and University of Michigan, is a happy Long Island boy making good with the Metropolitan Opera. Favorite roles include Figaro, Sparafucile, Dick Deadeye, Sarastro and Nick Bottom with companies such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Lincoln Center Theatre, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival. He dreams of singing another Figaro with his beautiful wife, soprano Tanya Roberts. His first novel is is due to be released this summer ... at the end of the 2017-18 season ... umm... someday? Check out his website and follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

  1. Your editor’s current favorite recipe is for a port hot toddy found on the New York Times website but goes something like this:

    INGREDIENTS: 3 ounces ruby port, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 cinnamon stick, Water just off the boil and 1 1-inch-wide ribbon of orange peels studded with 3-5 cloves.

    PREPARATION: In a mug or heatproof glass, stir the port, sugar and juices together with the cinnamon stick, leaving the cinnamon in the vessel. Add hot water to fill, and garnish with the clove-studded orange peel.

  1. ...except Solti’s Ring cycle is pretty good, de los Angerles’ & Bjorling’s Boheme has some nice moments, Milnes, Sutherland & Pavarotti’s Rigoletto ain’t too shabby, Sill’s Giulio Cesare does pretty nicely and Baltsa & Carreras make some nice sounds in Carmen… hmm… maybe there still is a little debate to be had on this question!

  1. Consider this my open letter of complaint to both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art for Gorey's lack of inclusion!.

  1. In the interest of full disclosure I should probably admit that I’m a bass.

  1. ...which never sounds terribly promising!

  1. Shout out to Lucy Dhegrae, the founder of the fantastic Resonant Bodies Festival, for her help in researching these charities!