Today SH and I attended a simulcast of an Opera from the Metropolitan Opera at the local Regal Cinema. It was Aida by Verdi. When I was thirteen, my homeroom teacher was brand spankin' new out of school-her name was Miss Mary Louise Nanna. We all loved her-boys and girls. She played the violin we knew, but the most important thing she ever did was to bring in her record player-small portable with a turn table-just like we all had in our homes then. And she played music during our homeroom period. Not just any music, but MUSIC, stuff like we never heard before. That is the first time I heard AIDA. I was so struck by the power of the Triumphal March-the horns caught you as soon as the first few blasts were heard. I have always claimed that as MY Opera. I have seen it in video form, and on TV and listened to certain selections and many versions of CELESTE AIDA. It means Heavenly Aida. Now, it is all on youtube! I tried to upload it here for you, but apparently it is not meant to be. Type in Placido Domingo Celeste Aida in youtube for a wonderful version. I followed Opera from afar for most of my life, never really pursuing it much-wrong time or wrong place. I always remembered my SGM loved Mario Lanza, and she would hum a bit to her shadow granddaughter while we were lucky to have her live with us for a few years. It must be in the blood right?
When SH and I were dating, we started talking about our mutual love of Opera-of course he actually knew something about this art form-I was mearly a wannabe. On our honeymoon (that word might seem silly to some since I was 48 when we married), we actually went to a real live Opera-at the Glimmerglass Opera House near Cooperstown NY. You can just be swallowed up in the music and the costumes and breathe with the performers. There is nothing more wonderful than to follow the mostly tragic love stories and have your pulse beat to the music. Comedies are nice, Gilbert and Sullivan really have so much to offer, but the love and usual death story is so intense. Especially when you are lucky enough to love someone else at that level.
This was a difficult summer for us, SH was very sick. It was a sad time to not be able to fix everything, so helpless. We had made reservations to see two performances at Glimmerglass, but that was one of the many things that became unimportant.
Then, around 3 weeks ago, SH started to return. Sleeping, eating, stronger if not yet strong. We talked about going to see Aida, he knows it is my favorite, but I tried not to jump up and down with excitement (like I could jump up and down???) in case it did not happen. But all worked out, today we drove (way too fast since it took longer to get organized), but no speeding tickets for me, no handicapped parking spots left-who cares, we flew with a big old wind at our back, and plucked down in the last handicapped spot for SH's chair and a sweet usher managed to find me a folding chair so we could sit together. A very few minutes later, it all began, and let me tell you, a happier 13 year old girl could not be found. The next 4 hours were so special. My heart and soul were filled, I was holding SH's hand, and my fanny was numb.
And what of Miss Mary Louise Nanna you ask? She was the first woman to conduct the Washington National Symphony Orchestra, and over thirty years ago she founded the Ars Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra which she currently conducts-performing Vivaldi. I once went to a performance she was conducting of the Cheektowaga Community Orchestra. I think I very shyly said hello-but I might be imaging that I really did say something. What I should have done was very sincerely thanked her for exposing me to a wonderful world that eventually became an important part of who I am. We go to sleep listening to one of our zillion opera or classical music cds, and we have many from which to choose .
Thank you Miss Nanna, Celeste Mary Louise.