The gilding above my widened eyes quietly beckons to me, asking me to remember something I dare to forget. They remind me of times in a fairy tale land. A time while walking through the fog covered sleet ridden streets of Venice in the dead of winter allow you to live in another century; frigid waters lapping at my toes, Vivaldi echoing through the narrow half-forgotten streets.
An air of excitement fill the grandiose room while the orchestra tunes and the lights begin to dim until we can just make out the softly undulating curtain that falls which such weight in front of us. The strings begin, tasting the air delicately before their strength builds and we begin to build the scene.
Curtain opens…voices bellow from places of sadness and love. They sing in exultation; unity. A new version of church…one that loves us all regardless of what we believe in anymore. One that sweeps us briskly off our feet and into another space where our lungs are the ticket to paradise…our eyes truly a window to another land…
My father would pick me up every morning without fail before I could drive in order to spend time with me and take me to school. The two of us would play interesting and unusual games in the car while on the winding narrow road that I now know many others didn’t play.
Which album and year is this song from? Who is the lead singer? Who is Keith Richards really? And does he make or break the “Stones”?
Bob Dylan, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, The White Album, Pink Floyd…Rock and roll icons were burned into my mind from an early age. Also that and the fact that every time I answered his incessant questions correctly I received a nickel.
Hey…a nickel was worth a lot more in the 80’s than it is now. I was greedy for the music…and wanted the money. So in turn I learned the tracks, the names of the singers, their backup bands. And in time I grew to love and cherish them.
On mornings thick with the dripping Mt. Tam fog that obscured the road and make the tourists shake in their rental cars as they drove the 1, we would roll the windows up, equalize the bass and treble, and pump classical.
At first I didn’t love it. I was bored and wanted something with a beat, or a catchy lyric.
Soon I began to find the beauty in the way the music undulated through the car. I eagerly anticipated the way the strings sung in perfect balance to the harpsichord, or how the operatic voices make my eardrums vibrate in my head.
At school I would hum softly just out of ear’s reach of the other students, hearing the arias from Turandot or Madame Butterfly, weave patterns through my mind.
So I began to love the opera.