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Marie Marley

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Why I Wish I Were An Opera Composer

Posted: 06/25/2012 2:43 pm

I wish I were an opera composer. I would write the saddest opera of all time, then find the greatest voices in the world to perform it with the best orchestra in a perfect hall with the most appreciative, music-loving audience.

They would listen intently to every note, every chord, each inflection. And they would cry. For some, just a few tears would fall ever so slowly down their faces -- as though tears could fall to the rhythm of the adagio aria. Others would cry openly, Italianately, with arms outstretched, as though to comfort the characters on stage.

But that's the saddest part of all. The audience cannot comfort the performers. They can only feel their pain and share it and cry themselves. They cry because the music reminds them so strongly of their own pain. Their own losses. Their sorrow. And tears. Sadnesses past and present. The music reminds them of pain they have felt, pain they feared, pain they imagined, pain dreamt about, pain recalled from dreams. The pathos of every sad face they have ever seen. Now it is all expressed in one perfect, beautiful, exquisitely painful and sublimely sad aria.

It will end. The aria will be over. The opera will reach its finale. The audience will go home.

And remember.

For awhile.

They will suffer while hearing the aria repeatedly throbbing in their minds. Demanding their attention. Driving out any other thought or feeling. Then they will sleep. And be comforted by rest and by dreams of angels who will soothe their pain. They will awaken and remember their dreams. They will feel sad still, but less. They will remember the aria at an odd moment during the day, and cry again. But briefly.

And I, the composer, would then -- and only then -- be able to stop crying.

 
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