Retrieved from a conversational tangent, last, night, that went in a different direction. What art are you willing to travel for--that is, spend longer on the road than you do experiencing the art? For me, this usually means that something is not only transcendently wonderful, but relatively rare. The three that I can think of are
Live performances of Spem in Alium, Tallis's 40-part Motet. I've managed to stumble into a performance once, looking for free things to do on my birthday one year in Amherst, and haven't managed to come within 500 miles of one since. Recorded, the motet is a particularly beautiful example of multi-choral singing, and doesn't come remotely close to the experience of sitting in a circle of 40 voices weaving in and out and around each other, creating a complete universe out of song. I haven't yet tried Janet Cardiff's 40-speaker installation, currently at the Cloisters.
Live performances of Sassafrass's Sundown opera. I've caught parts of it live, most notably at last year's Vericon, which I actually went to instead of a Spem in Alium performance the week before. Sassafrass comes across more fully in recording than the motet, partly because the lyrics are a larger part of the point, but live still makes a difference.
Dale Chihuly installations. Chihuly does things with blown glass that are beautiful and eldritch and possibly batrachian and gibbous. But in a good way.
I would travel for Cirque du Soleil, but the barrier is more often money than distance. I would travel for Shakespeare if I had to, or for Hudson River School paintings, trilobite fossils, or new books by my favorite authors. Fortunately not all beautiful things are rare. However, there's a particular delight in managing to track and experience something that still is.
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