Any time we all piled in the car on a Saturday when I was growing up, it was pretty much guaranteed that my dad was going to commandeer the radio and make us listen to the Metropolitan Opera matinee broadcast. As a normal red-blooded American pre-teen, I would complain loudly and then drown it out with my Walkman, amazed that anyone would listen to boring, weird singing over classical music when there was a cassette recording of, say, z100’s Top 9 at 9 that I had taped off of the radio available. Then I grew up and I began to see the allure of opera. It never replaced rock, hip hop, or indie stuff as the mainstay of my playlist, but I came to really appreciate it as the perfect soundtrack for activities like writing term papers or making chili on a cold day. Last year, when I learned that the Met sends a handful of singers to perform throughout the city as part of its free Summer Recital Series, I headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park after work one night to check it out. The evening began with a very dramatic thunderstorm, but what I remember best are the heartbreakingly beautiful arias performed against the magnificent backdrop of the sun setting beyond the NYC skyline. The concert returns to Pier 1 this Friday at 7pm, and will feature arias and duets sung by Dimitri Pittas (tenor), Danielle de Niese (soprano), and John Del Carlo (bass-baritone). Grab a picnic and someone special and prepare to be wowed. –K.H.