I was blessed to grow up with a grandma that was my best friend. I am a mini version of my Gwammie inside and out and I am full of pride to confidently say that I am the woman I am because of her.

We did so many things together we found both genuine joy and wonderful company through and one of those delights was going to shows. Whether it was a circus, dance performance, orchestra, or play, we were buying tickets, dressing up, and grabbing the program.

I loved walking into the venues and events with her, finding out seats, and nestling in as the hum of the crowd flowed around us and we got to excitedly anticipate what we were about to experience. One of our favorite places to go was Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

"The Flying Dutchman" Opera at Merrill Auditorium

My Gwammie recently passed away but I still keep her alive and feel her warm spirit by doing the things we loved most. My partner and I love trying new things and finding new experiences in our city so when I saw the opera was coming to town, I knew we had to go.

Neither of us had ever been to an opera before, he had never been to Merrill, and I hadn’t stepped into the auditorium since I was last with my grandmother. Filled with emotion, we went to our first opera together at Merrill Auditorium to see “The Flying Dutchman”.

I knew what to expect from movies and TV shows, people on the stage showing off their best Barreto and Soprano voices but wasn’t sure how a storyline fit into it. Opera Maine’s major production of the year showed me how it was done. Acting singers took the stage singing a storyline about The Flying Dutchman in German while captions in English read on a screen above the stage.

They put on a show acting out the storyline of the dutchman finding love from a captain’s daughter all through beautiful vocals and songs that told the story. As two people who have fond respect and appreciation for music, it was a beautiful rendition of an old story that I had only known anything about through Spongebob. This was definitely a little different than the green ghost in my favorite childhood show.

Would I go to another opera? I’m not entirely sure of the answer to that but that is mostly due to my ADD and the long hours that the shows go on for. I will say I was pleasantly surprised to be entertained by a well-done and well-acted-out story that kept us engaged.

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Founded in 1933 as a Summer Stock theater, it quickly became much more than that. The Playhouse has attracted audiences and actors from all over.

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The complete list can be found on the Playhouse's website.

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