Full disclosure, I am one of about thirteen people in the world that actually enjoy listening to opera. I love it. It gets a bad rap for being elitist and inaccessible but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Operas address common themes like love, jealousy, and revenge. Sometimes all three at once when it is really juicy. In its time, it was considered the lowest common denominator form of entertainment which puts it somewhere on the level of the WWF. I love listening to those glandular men and women singing their hearts out for one another. In the end, there is either a wedding or a funeral and occasionally both. It’s pretty basic stuff and I love it. Despite this fondness, it has been noticeably absent from my life for a long time. So has music in general. On the radio I mostly listen to NPR. See my earlier entry re: filling my brain with other people’s worry to escape my own. I don’t work in an office that plays music or spend much time anywhere with music. Frankly, I miss it. I didn’t realize it though until my darling Jack reminded me.
Each of my children through a combination of diligent planning and happy accident has a “birth song”. This is a song that was played in and around their labor that we most associate with their arrival. For Joe it is a Rolling Stones cd that my brother burned for me in college. The entire cd recalls that day but specifically Paint it Black is Joe’s birth song. Olivia’s birth song is Eddy Vedder’s rendition of Rise from the motion picture soundtrack to Into the Wild. Jack’s is a beautiful aria from The Pearl Fishers. Au fond du temple saint is one of the most beautiful duets in opera. It is sung by two men whose past friendship was threatened by shared love of a woman. In the song they reaffirm their devotion to the friendship. It is basically the original bros before hoes. But, I digress. I love the song and hadn’t listened to it in years when early last week Jack brought it back to my attention. We dug out the CD. Yeah we are old school. Popped it in the minivan and rocked out to some Georges Bizet. It was, in a word, sublime. It was as though the musical floodgates had been opened and all of a sudden I remembered that I love to listen to opera, and salsa, and jazz, and lots of other great stuff.
Listening to music is wonderful. It is relaxing and energizing all at once. It feels decadent. When the specter of cancer makes time feel so artificially compressed the idea of wasting it listening to music seems frivolous. I am trying to let go of the hypervigilent state that I falsely believe is keeping cancer away. The multitasker in me still likes to listen while I do something else like drive, or fold laundry. The other day Jack, Olivia, and I had a killer salsa dancing/ laundry folding session. As time goes by though I look forward to spending an hour or so listening to music and nothing else.