CHICAGO | Seniors from Calumet City’s Victory Centre of River Oaks enjoyed a sneak peek of the heartbreaking tragedy, “Madama Butterfly,” as guests of the Lyric Opera.
The complimentary performance was thanks to an annual Lyric community engagement program that invites underserved Chicago area seniors to attend a dress rehearsal.
"There's nothing that we of Lyric enjoy more than welcoming seniors into our opera house. And having them experience Puccini's ‘Madama Butterfly’ with an all-star cast only heightens our satisfaction. For Lyric and for the Victory Centre seniors, Friday's dress rehearsal was a very memorable event," said Jack Zimmerman. Subscriber Relations manager, Lyric Opera of Chicago.
From lifelong opera aficionados to first-timers, the 13 Victory Centre seniors studied the Lyric’s online "Madama Butterfly" audio commentary and hopped a Victory Centre bus for their afternoon at the opera.
“I’m delighted to get the chance to go to the opera again,” says Victory Centre resident Ruth Buckner, 78, a retired licensed private duty nurse, who many years ago regularly escorted a former client to the opera.
Singing has always been a passion for Victory Centre resident Irma Coleman, who studied voice at Chicago’s Musical College back in the 1940s. She did not pursue a musical career, but listening to opera music became her favorite pastime.
“I love the stories and the music,” she says.
At 70, Eddie Bailey, one of six seniors who experienced the opera for the first time, looked forward to expanding his horizons.
He joked saying, “I’m such a good singer, I expected that they’d probably invite me to go up on stage.”
“Older adults can gain many wonderful benefits from pursuing new experiences and reliving old ones,” said Joy Shields, Victory Centre of River Oaks executive director. “Thanks to Lyric Opera’s initiative, we’re delighted to be able to facilitate this experience for our residents.”
Victory Centre of River Oaks, at 1370 Ring Road, is a Pathway Senior Living Supportive Living community that provides assistance for area seniors by offering residential accommodations, amenities, life-enrichment programs and support services.