Behind the Scenes


MCLA provides students with a world of opportunities, including those experienced by but a few. This was the case when 50 arts, theatre and arts management students got a rare, behind-the scenes glimpse into the world of New York City's Metropolitan Opera Company.

Beyond textbooks and classroom theory, MCLA offers a number of experiences like this to equip students with "real life" knowledge.

In April and December, two groups of 25 students were treated to a day of opera, thanks to the generosity of Sandy Fisher, who is on the Met's board and a former chairman of the Berkshire Opera Company board.

In addition to funding the trips, Fisher accompanies the students on these now yearly excursions, and provides them with an insider's view as he personally guides them on tours of everything the Met has to offer.

The students were immersed in the opera in a manner that went well beyond merely enjoying the performance. It began with lunch in the opera cafeteria, where they ate alongside the stage hands, singers and members of the orchestra. During intermission, the students enjoyed an elegant dessert, upstairs in the chic Grand Tier restaurant.

After the show, the students went backstage to visit with the world-class artists. It's an opportunity that relatively few prospective performers and arts professionals experience: They have the chance to speak with and ask questions of those whose jobs they aspire to, and to learn more about their lives.

"These music and theatre students, who are interested in taking this on for their life's pursuit, see a whole side they otherwise would not know about," Dilthey said. "They learn that being a singer is a lot of work, but it's very exciting."

Arts management students observe the business side of the opera as they went behind the stage and saw between 100 and 200 people working on the set. They see and learn for themselves what it takes for the Metropolitan Opera Company to put on the world-class shows that they produce.

"It's something you would never imagine, sitting in the audience, but they get to see it firsthand," Dilthey said.