To this we’ve come…Day 11

Well, I’m a little later with my writing today than normal, but I have a pretty good excuse.  Tomorrow is the last day of my Music and Social Justice class, and, well, I’ve spent all day today finalizing my presentation for tomorrow.

Okay, I stretched the truth.  I spent all day CREATING my presentation for tomorrow.

It has been a few years — ten, to be exact–since I put together a Powerpoint presentation and I’m pretty certain that, whatever the last topic was, it was not as interesting nor as personally earth-shattering for me as my topic tomorrow, which is “Social Justice Themes in Opera”.

You don’t find that topic earth-shattering?  Well, I do.  Why?  Because, if you have been following my writings out here in the cloud, you know that one of the central questions in my journey is — why do I have an operatic voice when I can’t seem to justify to myself enduring the torchers of singing opera and moving among the community of the opera business.

Living today, and well, all week (I’ve been making little notes to myself about points that I needed to make in my presentation) with this viewpoint on my topic, that there ARE social justice themes in opera, well, living with that thought has changed my mind and my perspective (there’s that word again). 

I’m certain that when the dust settles after tomorrow, I will have much more to say about all this, what it means for my life, my mission, and well, the next 6 months of my life, but tonight, all I can do is share with you the text of the last aria in my presentation.  As I drove to the grocery store and back, and ran those lyrics in my brain as I looked at the beautiful full moon that hangs in the sky tonight, I realized that these lyrics above all that I have worked with today, convince me (and I hope you, too) that there is power and beauty and faith and hope in this thing we call opera, if you just look hard enough:

To this we’ve come:
that men withhold the world from me.
No ship nor shore for him who drowns at sea.
No home nor grave for him who dies on land.
To this we’ve come:
that man be born a stranger upon God’s earth,
that he be chosen without a chance for choice,
that he be hunted without the hope of refuge.
To this we’ve come:
(to the Secretary)
and you, you too, shall weep.
If to men, not to God, we now must pray,
tell me, Secretary, tell me,
who are these men?
If to them, not to God, we now must pray,
tell me, Secretary, tell me!
Who are these dark archangels?
Will they be conquered?  Will they be doomed?
Is there one –  anyone behind those doors
to whom the heart can still be explained?

What is your name?   Magda Sorel.
Age?  Thirty three.
What does it matter?
All that matters is that the time is late,
that I’m afraid and I need your help.
What is your name?  What is your name?  What is your name?
This is my answer:
My name is woman.
Age:  still young.
Colour of hair: gray.
Colour of eyes:  the colour of tears.
Occupation:  Waiting.
Oh, the day will come, I know,
when our hearts aflame
will burn your paper chains!
Warn the Consul, Secretary, warn him,
That day neither ink nor seal
shall cage our souls.
That day will come.

    —  Giancarlo Menotti

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