Monday, November 1, 2010

Judi Does Opera York!

I had a passion-filled weekend that I’m just dying to tell you about!  I was whisked away to the Paris of artists, poets and lovers.  I was swept off my feet by a potent cocktail of romance and wine and youthful ardour.  Who was the author of this delicious assignation?  It wasn’t just one, but an entire posse of passion purveyors by the name of Opera York.  
I went to see La Boheme at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday – my first time to the opera.  For an hour and a half or so (I really can’t say as I lost all sense of time) I was elated and dismayed then amused and finally heartbroken by the joys and the travails of the tempestuous lovers, Mimi and Rodolfo and Musetta and Marcello.  An “opera virgin,” I arrived knowing nothing about La Boheme but left knowing everything.
 How was that possible? 
Did I read and study and memorize?  Did I analyze and interview and intuit?  No; that’s not the kind of knowledge I’m referring to.  I absorbed La Boheme as a body memory.  My eyes glow with the reflection of fun by candlelight when Shaunard came in to share his good fortune with his friends.  My fingers and face sting in the brittle air of a frigid and fireless winter night in Paris.  In sympathy with Mimi’s illness, my own chest tightens and shudders in shallow breaths.  The labyrinth of love’s misadventures carves a path of pain through my stomach and all the while my heart pounds with the vigour of an Olympic athlete from the convulsive workout it’s been put through.
La Boheme was not passive entertainment.  It was a transforming experience.  I will eventually awaken but remain a bit bemused and offer these words from T.S. Eliot:        
“I can only say there we have been: but I cannot say where.  And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”
I am thinking that all opera will impress me that way and believe me, there will be more!  Spring will hold  more promise than usual next year as I look forward to Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with Opera York

Greg King, Professional Photographer, has beautifully captured the spirit of La Boheme in the following portraits - (with permission)...

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