Even though you're reading an arts blog at the moment, you may not have sampled every art form that's out there. So: If you've never seen an opera -- or never seen one presented by Opera Carolina -- here's your chance to try it. For free.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation essentially has bought up a performance of one the all-time favorites -- Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" -- and let Opera Carolina give away the seats.
So 1,850 tickets to the Jan. 28 performance will be up for grabs. Anyone who has never attended an Opera Carolina performance is eligible to sign up online beginning Dec. 5. The company will give out the tickets -- a maximum of two per entry -- on a first-come, first served basis.
"Seeing 'Madama Butterfly' is a wonderful reminder of how the arts can enrich our lives," Knight Foundation executive Dennis Scholl said in a statement. "We hope first-time operagoers in Charlotte will take us up on our offer of a free seat and get a taste of all the opera has to offer." The foundation was established by former owners of the Charlotte Observer and other newspapers.
To sign up, go to www.win.operacarolina.org beginning Dec. 5. To keep everybody honest and make sure that the free tickets served their intended purpose, Opera Carolina will check names against its database.
Newcomers to opera won't be the only people to have an eye-opening experience. This "Butterfly" will have a colorful new look, thanks to sets and costumes by Jun Kaneko, a Japanese artist with works in the Mint Museum's collection. His "Butterfly" designs premiered at Nebraska's Opera Omaha in 2006.
By the way, no operagoers will be harmed in the making of this giveaway. The Jan. 28 performance, on a Saturday, is an extra that Opera Carolina added to take advantage of the popularity of "Madama Butterfly." So no one has to be bumped.