Several years ago I bought a few used books on French impressionism and when I got home a slip of paper fell out of one of them: a short obituary on the previous owner that ended with “…patron of the arts and life-long lover of opera.”
I hope that after a long life someone can write the same about me in my obituary. Opera has thus far been a life-long passion of mine. Photography and food–my other loves–are subjects that have saturated this modern world of social media and have made them thus less special to me.
But opera…now that’s special. Classical music in general, but opera in particular. I am dumbfound by how orchestrated pressure waves travelling through the air take hold of my memory, do with my heart rate what they wish, and make me smile, laugh, get angry, and weep. How the vast majority of the population manages to escape its effects is incomprehensible to me.
Countless times I have excitedly talked about the subject to curious friends and acquaintances and invariably I see the politest of smiles form on their faces, feigning interest in my words not having the courage to crush my excitement. I thank them for their politeness, but the subtlest crushing of my joy is inevitable. I only hope that in my old age, I find another unusual soul who will call me up to tell me about a new recording they came across or a something new they read in a book on the subject.
Who out there reads up on the works before a performance, wants to discuss them afterwards, and regularly reads up on the subject? I can only wonder…