I grew up listening to Opera. On the radio and when my mother would play her records on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t like it or dislike it, it was just a part of life. Opera was the only thing I saw my mother get really passionate about. She would sing along and cry and sway to the music. She was a 1960’s housewife, who didn’t have friends or hobbies. Her life was given to the idea of family, but the Opera belonged to her. It was a secret window into who she was as a person not a mother or wife.
Before she was married she would get standing room tickets at Lincoln Center. The music initially drew her but she soon learned all the stories, made a friend waiting on line, and would go whenever her favorites were being performed. Once married she stopped going to the Opera. In the late 1980’s the idea of hearing Luciano Pavarotti live inspired her to go back again . She’s gone off and on since then.
Last night I took my mother to see Tosca at Lincoln Center. I liked everything about it, the music, the sets, the costumes the drama, watching the people and being able to bring my mother there. But I didn’t experience it like she did. For her it goes deep. It touches a part of her I’ll probably never know.