Friday, August 30, 2013

Chenier at 30,000 Feet

My recent trip to Virginia to visit Mom and Dad was mostly wonderful (Mom's health is not the best right now), but the trip home to Maine took all of Wednesday (honestly, it would've been 5 hours shorter to drive).

The nightmare was made bearable by JetBlue's Met Opera Station on Sirius. I was lucky to hear most of the final two acts of a 1957 Andrea Chenier with Milanov, Tucker and Warren, conducted by Fausto Cleva. Zinka was not in her best voice (at times a bit screechy at the top and other times a bit blowsy), but let me tell you, by "Vicino a te," she and Tucker were burning down the house. The storms had cleared and all around was nothing but blue sky and enormous fluffy, white clouds ... rays of sunlight streaking through, as Chenier and Maddalena's voices soared through the heavens. Already a bit emotional from my visit, I couldn't hold the tears back by this point and didn't even bother trying.

I'm generally one of those who demands silence until the final chord of an opera has faded into the ether, but sometimes a wild ovation is in order. The roar of insanity that erupted after they'd sung their last, cut through Giordano's fire-breathing postlude and it was positively thrilling.

While I sometimes complain about much in our modern, techno impersonal world, I couldn't help but marvel at - and be humbled by - the experience of soaring through space with two operatic giants long gone, turning an otherwise lousy day, into a miracle.