The Sum of Their Parts

We came home elated from the Metropolitan Opera’s HD performance of “The Pearl Fishers” yesterday. It looked as if there was a full house at the Met, and that was true too of the theatre we were in in Beaverton, Oregon. Such music, such singers, and a production that had you exclaiming aloud! Of course the fun of the HD performance is that at the intermissions you are backstage not only listening to the singers talking with a fellow singer as they come off stage, but you have an explanation of the apparatus that allows these overwhelmingly effective effects to occur.

It’s a far cry from when a writer of chant, in the early church, could be excommunicated for using thirds and sixths! Bizet, who is best known for “Carmen,” wrote this opera early in his life. It hasn’t been in the Met repertory for a hundred years. The duet in the first act, between Nadir and Zurga, the tenor and the baritone, is often played on classical music stations just by itself. Hearing it in place in the whole opera, and then hearing Bizet’s use of the theme throughout the work, in small or large parts, felt like being given a beautiful present.

image1 (13)I woke in the night, the simple theme running through my head, and thought of this piece Tom put together a few days ago on the windowsill of our dining room. The figures at each side are bookends we got at the Palm Springs Art Museum shop. Tom had put the steel balls in the seed-pod also long ago, but only now have they come together.

And there in my mind was the combined new creation, ephemeral, but real: the music, the figures, the snow.