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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Could Have Touched a Tenor!

About ten years ago, for my birthday, Charles took me to a restaurant in Philly named Victor's. The food is Southern Italian so I was in Carb Heaven. And the wait staff sings opera. SO I was completely immersed in Rodeo's version of Paradise.

I had a glass of red red wine (this was before I understood that the flushing and the heat and the stuffed up nose I get from drinking wine is an allergy). I ordered lots of scrumptious food. And every time a little bell rang, a waitperson would sing OPERA. Right next to me!

I asked our waitperson if I could make a request. I had a notion that if someone would sing Nessun Dorma the top of my head might blow off from pleasure. She said, No. They don't take requests.

Cheerful with a filling belly and heady with wine and a stuffed up nose, I continued to shovel food into my mouth and enjoyed the random bursts of song. Arias from operas - all Italian, thank God - sprouted from all over the room.

Through the haze in my brain from the alcohol and carbs (I know, I'm making excuses) I become aware that yet another bell has rung and the room is getting quiet. Forks are placed next to plates. Glasses jingle as they are set down. A hush falls.

Directly behind me, a Tenor rumbles slowly, softly into the first notes of Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o, Principessa

No one shall sleep, no one shall sleep, not even you, Princess!

I can feel the pressure of his swelling chest against the back of my chair. His breath disturbs my hair.

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!

I have a secret, No one shall know....

Enveloped in his thunder, he rumbles through the lyrics. My right hand stirs in my lap. It begins to shake. Rises to my throat. I am helpless to stop it....

nella tua fredda stanza,
guardi le stelle
che tremano d'amore
e di speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!

"Don't TOUCH the TENOR, MADAM!" Stunned by the shrieking of the maître d', I bring my hand back to my lap, and it lies there, spent and quivering. A roomful of proper people who have complete control of their limbs pause in judgment. I am shamed, but mostly disappointed. I didn't get to feel the vibration coming from that massive chest, the vibration that results in the gorgeous noise and the passion.

I make myself feel better by ordering baba au rhum. Charles can't even look at me.

An unfulfilled fantasy. A thwarted desire. It festers. It lurks. It waits for its moment.

Fast forward ten years. I am still reeling from my great birthday weekend - I had everything anyone could desire for a happy occasion. Great friends, love outpouring. Best wishes. Unexpected surprises and generous gifts. Larry Holmes The FREAKING LONGEST REIGNING HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD called me to wish me Happy Birthday! I mean, how cool is that? (A gift from a dear friend who knows I love boxing.)

And then, this morning, I check my twitter (something not possible ten years ago) and I notice that there was a twit about a Mob-opera at the Reading Market Terminal. Youtube has the video. I have shared it below. This happened on Saturday, my birthday. For a half a second, I have a regret. I could have gone to this, if I had known.

And then I realize, it's here for me now, on the video, and in my future, I am sure, there will be a tenor I can touch. I also realize that for me, there is always more out there. Nothing is going away. It's not that things don't happen, they just haven't happened yet.

To see the MobOpera, see the previous post for April.

1 comment:

daveydidit said...

I have been to Victor Cafe a number of times. One evening in the early 80's was particularly memorable. I was seated with a party at the back of the restaurant at the first table by the steps leading to that small back room. A large Chinese baritone rose over me and began to sing Jerome Kern's "Old Man River" enhanced with appropriate showering spittle. The meal was good. I'm alive. Guess it wasn't too bad.