13 July 2009

And Then There Was Opera...

For those who have known me for a long time you will know that there are three things which are constants in my life which never change despite how much my surroundings or situation may: A deep and abiding love for the truly spiritual, art, and music. These are almost default settings in my life to which I return time and time again to refamiliarize myself with myself.

Of these three I would like to take a moment to discuss, or lay out before you rather, my love and interest in one of the central pillars of my musical affection: Opera. Passing from superficial predispositions towards the form; one becomes quickly, heavily, enveloped in the ethereally primal resonances of the spiritually substantive. There are few places in secularity that one finds proximity to that good providence: the genesis, author of the soul. In and through the operatic genius one rediscovers that proximity to which his indigenous cognition declares his patrimony.

My first introduction to opera which laid the foundation for a deep and abiding love was through a series of recordings done by Maria Callas and Guiseppe Di Stefano of Italian opera duets. My father, an avid musician and opera devotee in his own right, ensured that there would be no shortage of opportunities for my siblings and I to chance upon the operatic form by leaving numerous recordings and literature about the house. This worked in my case and as I listened to these recordings time and time again I fell in love with first one aria, and then another, and then another. Nessun Dorma was a particular favorite of mine in the beginning as was and is true of much of Puccini's oeuvre. Others followed: Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Mozart, Bizet, Gounod, all adding to a richness and texture woven one upon another in a deeply intricate brocade of silken musicality.

There is something about Opera itself, going to the theatre, sitting in a vast auditorium and peering into the deeply tenebrous recesses of the wings in anticipation. The overture breaks and the audience disappears as you, and you alone, partake of a musical communion. As John Eaton said:

"It's music ultimately that matters in opera, and opera is a piece of music reaching out as a vision in sound reaching out to the world."

With that said, I leave you now to the music.

A short musical Bibliography for your appreciation:

For Comparison