A Night at the Opera


Our longest-running subscriber goes backstage at New York City's Metropolitan Opera.

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The upgradee
Who better to upgrade for our 10th anniversary than our longest-running subscriber, Bill Herndon of El Paso, Tex.? We flew him to New York City, put him up at the luxurious Jumeirah Essex House, and got him a ticket to Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera, along with a backstage tour.

Using our powers for the good of the people
"I've traveled to Egypt, Germany, Italy, and China—almost everywhere—either for work or with my wife, Nancy, and our two sons. We picked up Budget Travel because our European trips were costing too much. And it certainly did the job. Nancy and I often come to New York City to see performances at the Metropolitan Opera, because I'm a huge fan. This time, she couldn't make it at the last minute but insisted I go anyway: I've wanted to see Verdi's Ernani for 35 years! Peter Clark met me at the Met—now, I don't know his title, but it's good enough that when I misplaced my ticket, he just called the box office and had them print me a new one. Mr. Clark and I visited the shops where they make wigs and costumes, and peeked in at a rehearsal. In the halls, burly men were moving sets and props around us. (I also told him a few stories—you see, I came to New York in 1948 as part of the Boys Town choir, when the Met was at its old location on Broadway.) Most of all, I enjoyed the opera. I was in the fourth row. The singers were great—and when you're that close, very loud. It was an exciting night!"

With help from...
The Metropolitan Opera (metopera.org); Jumeirah Essex House (jumeirahessexhouse.com); and BT reader Keith Caffery, of Yakima, Wash., who took the photos.

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