Monday, August 1, 2011

Senza di te (languisce il cor).

I was going to write a thoughtful and moving post about Ramadan, but, as it goes on for a whole month, I should have another opportunity. I don't feel quite in the right frame of mind. Although I knew it was coming, Ramadan still has taken me a bit by surprise, and it feels as if I have been pulled over for a busted headlight only to find out there is a warrant out for unpaid tickets. In any case, blessings to all - practicing or not.

Speaking of practice, albeit of another kind altogether, I have recently been taking voice lessons. It started out as a whim. I sing in the shower (AMAZING acoustics!), in the car, any time there is karaoke. I can carry a tune (this was later confirmed by a rather surprised professional.) I am enjoying it quite a bit, except that my assignments seem to be veering toward the exceptionally morose. As I have discussed previously, I do kind of like morose...but this is all a bit too much.

I am working out of "Twenty-Four Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century (For Medium High Voice)". I'm a mezzo-soprano! Or something. This era was apparently a good one for, well, SONGS and ARIAS about heartbreak, love lost, love gained (and lost again), and flowers. Shepherds, gay maidens, ravishings (not of the previous parties, I must add), despair, meadows, and stars all make their due appearances. That was back in the day of no Twitter or Facebook, so there was no other way to update your relationship status, I suppose.

If you are not suffering from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or on your deathbead thanks to having been cruelly discarded by your lover (for he/she has found another! Or has died! Or has gone back to her baby-daddy!) then you surely will feel as if you have been. Or, at the very least, everything will take on a dramatic air, and even the wait for the Sears repairperson to come fix the problem with the soap dispenser of your high-efficiency washer will seem worthy of plaintive weeping and gentle, trembling song. (It has been two weeks since I made the service appointment, and I am tired of waiting! It's helping me get into character, though.)

Case in point: Caro Mio Ben. I am working on this one, and it is lovely (when sung properly.)

Caro mio ben,
Credimi almen,
Senza di te languisce il cor.
Il tuo fedel
Sospira ognor.
Cessa, crudel,
Tanto rigor!

My dear beloved,
believe me at least,
without you my heart languishes.
Your faithful one
always sighs;
cease, cruel one,
so much punishment!

There is a silver lining in all of this. One, I get to feel kind of cultured and renaissance-womanesque (or is that renaissance-esque woman...) because I am singing in a romantic foreign language. Two, when I close my eyes I am able to imagine that I am kicking something off my bucket list (dressing in a toga and singing in a chorus of some locally-produced opera.) Three, another excuse to cry! Of course.


  1. Hello Maggie:
    This is so exciting and such a marvellously inspiring thing to be doing. How often, we wonder, do you go for lessons? And is it one to one with your teacher, or are you at times in a group? Do let us know when we should expect to see you on the stage of The Met or at La Scala. Wonderful! Wonderful!

    We do hope that the Sears repair person is reading this so that he, or she even, might, just possibly, respond to Caro Mio Ben and arrive on your doorstep to fix the washing machine.

    You are forgiven, this once, for reaching Girl Wizard before us!!

  2. 'love lost, love gained (and lost again),'

    I'd like to think that the story ends, for all of us, with that which was lost, gained again. Gained utterly.

    Shall we ask the magic eight ball? Yes, I think we must.

    Shall we gain back that which was lost? But, really *gained*? Do tell, MEB.

    (She pads across her sister's kitchen to the front office.)

    Okay, my exhausted brother-in-law and I are both laughing a bit maniacally at the answer.

    'Don't Count On It.'

    All right, we shall not. Perhaps the point is to gain something else, entirely. For loss, as all things, is temporary.

    Gain, gain, come again another day ...

    Love you, mezzo sop. Utterly. (No loss, there.)

  3. Lance and Jane and Jane and Lance: I go for lessons once a week, alone. I do not wish to sear the ears of other would-be singers! Keep an eye out for your invite; I think I am progressing rapidly!

    Suze: Perhaps sometimes loss is meant to throw what we HAVE into stark relief, and prepare us for something even better. That is my heart's most fervent hope, for all of us who struggle.

  4. beautiful, maggie. cry away and sing your lungs out. this is good for the soul to do, and this was good for my soul to read♡

  5. Do the Hattatt's ever sleep?

    I join you via Suze at Girl Wizard being a fellow recipient of an award. I only wish I had all the other recipient's literary skills. I am much more pictorial.

    The singing thing, how simply marvellous, enjoy your gift!

    Nice to mee you

  6. Dearest YONKS (Dianne)!

    A hearty congratulations on your win! (By the way, no, The Hattatts never sleep. I think that is reserved for lesser mortals!) I have visited your blog as well and am looking forward to following your adventures!

  7. Hey, I want to hear you sing!

  8. you go girl...i am sure many an opera star started out by being a "in the shower" singer!! :)

  9. Maggie, I think you will enjoy this, if you haven't seen them already (maybe you'll be next ;)).

    Let me know if you cried or at least got a lump in your throat (like me!!!)

  10. I had only seen the middle one before, but the last one made me cry. So much beauty, despite so much pain. And it's always great to see Simon Cowell so surprised!

  11. It's good to see him period. I refuse to watch American Idol without him. :)