When asked which type of music they favor, mostyoung adults respond with anything but “opera.” Infact, most kids (and many adults) scoff at this type of music.At the mention of opera, their minds conjure up a low-litstage with cardboard sets where zaftig Brunhilds in hornedhelmets wail about. Even some of the most cultured turn uptheir snoots at an evening with Madame Butterfly. This isbecause of the misconception that opera is boring. It’s easyenough to believe; opera is almost always in a foreignlanguage and much of it can sound the same.
Recently I saw the famousItalian tenor Andrea Bocelli. I am far from being an operafan, and have always been partial to alternative and hip-hopmusic. I expected a boring evening of wishing for my discman.Even as I applauded as the lights went down, I surprisedmyself by just being there. I prayed that the music would keepmy interest.
Andrea Bocelli was led out onto the stage.
Blind since the age of 12, he was guided to the waitingmicrophone. The applause was uproarious, and something at thatmoment sparked my hard-to-ignite interest. I was intrigued bythe audience’s fervor for this man, and I couldn’t wait tohear his talent. Some enthusiasts yelled from the rafters inItalian and Spanish, encouraging him to sing his best. I wasreminded of a school sports assembly in which star players areexalted with warm affection.
A large projection screendisplayed a close-up of Bocelli’s face. He was quite abeautiful man. He kept his eyes closed, but his peacefulexpression made it seem natural. When he began to sing, onebeautiful ability replaced another that had been lost. Hisangelic voice rang out with the graceful symphony – and I wascaptivated. The words – though foreign to me – were sung witha passion and energy that gave me passion and energy inreturn. I closed my eyes and visited memories I had kepthidden away that emerged with themusic.
By intermission Iwas bewitched by this music. No longer would I brush asideopera. It was not horned Viking women chasing vulnerable menaround stage – and it was not boring. At least, AndreaBocelli’s version wasn’t.
I left the show that eveningin a sea of perfumed women in black dresses and distinguishedmen wearing Armani and expensive cologne. I felt a part of aculture I had been missing out on. I was glad I had finallycome around to see (with the assistance of Andrea Bocelli)that things are not always what they seem.