My Life And Loves

My life had taken a weird turn, and I suddenly found myself being pulled into a relationship I had sworn off -- the intense affair I'd had years ago was threatening to breach the protective walls I'd put up. I had a marriage and my family to consider, a business, friends in ethically formidable positions. It was important that I not do anything improper.

Of course, there is my past; no one escapes their past completely.

Troubled and in turmoil, I found myself going to the opera. I didn't realize why, but the stories of comedy and tragedy were actually hitting me hard. One in particular, really bit down to my core: Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" presented "his side" of the story of my life. Of course, I'm no ingenue, and no one was murdered in my life ... but Onegin's pleading in the final scene of the opera stunned me, and I suddenly understood all his entreaties.

It made me cry, not just because it was beautifully done. I blubbered and wept because I understood Onegin's plea, and I understood Tatiana's need to be the proper adult for both of them. I watched the opera several times, and let his passion for his missed opportunity, his admission of his mistake -- I let it wash over me, and give me compassion.

I found that the opera -- as cheesy as it can be -- was a distilled presentation of the human experience. I also realized that Tchaikovsky must have understood this feeling, because he could write the music and affect the libretto for this simple, ridiculous story in a way that was understandable, believable, and heart-breaking.

Then I saw Mozart's and da Ponte's "Cosi fan Tutte," and I realized that the outcome of a misguided four-some could be staged in a variety of ways, and that all the conclusions were valid. I saw that in their creator's minds, it was possible to love more than one person, in more than one way. It was as if this lesson came to me from centuries ago, to let me know that my fears and desires were not unique. They were merely human, within a moral societal construct.

More operas followed, and I learned more about myself and the man who was pressuring me to return to him, and to believe his promises. I also realized that I need not put the whole responsibility for my happiness upon myself; that I could trust someone else, and if he broke that trust, it truly wasn't the end of the world.

I also learned that it's possible for a man to actually love, to love deeply, and to be faithful in his love. It wasn't just a fairy tale; not all men were "the same." Some men just need a chance, and if they failed, it wasn't the end of the world. It's not worth painting all men with the same brush, was the lesson of "Don Giovanni." Perhaps that's not the lesson most people take away from the story, but it's the one that flung itself at me one fateful afternoon as I watched it on DVD.

I love the opera now because I appreciate the many facets of opera. I learned to love it as a sort of alternative spiritual experience for me -- instead of biblical tableaus, I got glorious music, skillful singing, and varied interpretations from actors, singers, dancers, producers, directors, designers, etc. It's really its own world; Robert LePage refers to it as "the mother art," which combines all the human arts into one presentation.

For me, it's "the mother emotion" and it taught me compassion, and melted my ice queen-ness out of me. It was necessary for me to learn to be happy with another human being.
auroramaru auroramaru
46-50, F
Jan 15, 2013