An opera singer on the “B” train


This story happened to me as I was traveling on the “B” train from Broadway-Lafayette to Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. It was a Wednesday and about 7 pm, so, considering the hectic life in New York City, most of the passengers on the train were rather tired. I gotta say it’s a long ride from Broadway-Lafayette to Coney Island, which takes about 45-60 minutes.
As I got on the train, there were no empty seats available, so I just stood by the door. Immediately, my attention was caught by an elderly lady in a flowery dress. She had curly, shoulder-length hair and was wearing glasses that somehow seemed too big for her. In fact, she could pass for a fairy, were she a bit more glamorous.
But it was not the lady’s appearance that grabbed by attention at ones. It was the fact that she was actually SINGING (in quite a loud voice) what sounded like a piece from some opera. She seemed to rather enjoy herself, as she was smiling serenely at other passengers and looking up the ceiling in satisfaction.
I’ve heard a bunch of opera singers in my life and I could tell she was not a pro. She sounded more like Susan Boyle – an amateur singer endowed with a great voice. But, like I said, it was a week day and, I imagine, that irritated quite a few people on the train.
In about 10-15 minutes, the gentleman who was seating right next to the lady-singer, turned over to her and said: “Excuse me, madam. You’re not the only person in this car. If you wish to practice your singing – do so at home”.
I must say that the gentleman sounded polite and dignified. Moreover, he had a rather pleasant appearance: a tanned complexion and dark, expressive eyes. He was a bit baldish, though, but that did not make him less attractive. Besides, he was in his late 40s – early 50s, I think.
The lady’s reaction was quite unexpected. She didn’t seem to be embarrassed or offended in the least. She just said that it was a free country and she could do whatever she pleased.
“OK, then”, – said the gentleman; and we couldn’t believe what happened next. He opened his mouth and went “Largo al factotum della città” , singing Figaro’s aria from “The Barber of Seville” with the vigor, force and skillfulness of a professional singer!
This made everybody’s jaws drop, and we looked at the couple in amazement, our eyes bulging. The handsome gentleman sang the whole aria. He had an amazing voice and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to see such a splendid performance for free. Needless to say, once he finished, the crowed burst out in applause. The lady never resumed singing. )))

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