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Operatic Musings

There are few things in this life as soul-wrenchingly beautiful as a well-executed tenor aria.

So imagine my excitement when the film feiheli and I went to see Friday night ("No Reservations") included Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma from 'Turandot'; it's my all-time favorite. Catherine Zeta-Jones' character was a little like the chilly, Chinese princess, come to think of it--it was definitely appropriate to the soundtrack, which was full of operatic numbers (and some Liz Phair, to boot).

I drove home from Winston in great anticipation of listening to some more 'Turandot', only to realize that my music collection was sadly lacking in Puccini once I got there. Quelle horreur! It was iTunes to the rescue.

Ever find that piece of music that you can listen to over and over, one that kneads at your spirit each time you hear it, twisting and punching your heartstrings until, at the end of its three minutes, you've experienced a glorious catharsis of the soul? Yeah. This is mine.

I hear the prince sing, "Sulla tua bocca lo dirò, quando la luce splenderà" (essentially: "When morning comes, on your mouth I will speak it [my secret]") and his passion, desire and determination melt every inch of me. I mean... wow. That's a kiss.

By the time he gets to, "Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò!" ("Vanish, o night! Set, stars! At daybreak, I shall conquer!") and the orchestra swells into its final crescendo--well, my spirit has already exploded with an indescribable, uncontainable joy... with victory.

And "tramontate"... it's one of of my favorite Italian words. It's fun to say, to sing--the way it rolls off the tongue. And so much more picturesque (literally, "to sink behind the mountains") than its English equivalent, "to set". One more reason that Italian is rightfully considered a "Romance" language, I suppose. ;)



The Inimitable Miss M

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October 2009


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