I'd always thought Opera was nothing but vocal pakami. Like a display of complex dance movies, so complex that it strains your brain to register the dance as a whole.
Emotion, I thought was what Opera lacked. I have no idea how I got stuck with that idea. I'd always prided myself on being rather sensitive. I used to say, with all the subtle snobbery I could muster, 'The composition doesn't really matter to me unless it's executed with passion.' What I didn't realise was, that opera had much more passion than my Peer-Pressured adolescent heart could take. No wonder it made me feel slightly stifled, slightly uncomfortable, like I would feel having a stranger sob violently on my shoulder.
I once downloaded this song (Miss Sarajevo) by U2 and Luciano Pavarotti-. I was attracted by such a strange combination. When I heard it for the first time, I wasn't impressed. I found it dull and plodding, I never thought I could be anything more than neutral towards it.
Many times afterwards, the song was played randomly by ITunes Shuffle. At the computer all of those times, I was busy googling fondue or trying to send telepathic mindwaves to people through MSN. The song never caught my fancy, or even my attention.
Now I'm a believer in conservation. Not of food or time. Primarily of trees and electricity, of GB and MB. I never keep files stored unless I'm sure that I'll use them at some point in the future. So I decided to delete Miss Sarajevo. But something went click inside my head just before I removed the file forever. And I thought I'd listen to it one last time. Carefully.
And my god.
From the very beginning, it did something to me. There was something so poignant and haunting about the music, something surreal. It began with Bono, soft and muted, but with this undercurrent of intensity to his voice. The build-up.
Then it went onto Pavarotti. And that's when I got chills.
There's something refreshing about a release of energy. When the angst-ridden child finally gives way to tears. When the frustrated painter brings his canvas crashing down upon the ground. When the egotistic lover throws caution to the winds and runs into the arms of her man. Trite or orginal, dramatic or subdued, the catharsis is needed.
And with Pavarotti's soaring voice, release was the one emotion I felt. Release from what, I don't know. But it was release INTO a whole new dimension. One where everything mattered, everything was beautiful, overwhelmingly so. And yet, there was no sense of suffocation, only of freedom.
It's a joke among my friends that I grow to love people after they die. Ted Hughes. Jimmie-Dah. (Morrison) John Lennon.