I am too disheartened by recent events to be able to respond to the news in any kind of responsible way today. I’m taking a break.
And I have been rewarded. I have just witnessed the Snow White/Sleeping Beauty effect. Keep reading.
One of the nicer aspects about not having found a full-time job yet is that I have a couple of days off during the week. I was feeling rather down and, having completed most of my mundane chores, I threw on Charlotte Church’s Enchantment CD and went out on the deck to have a cup of coffee outside on this gloriously beautiful day.
Even knowing that hearing some of the songs would make me cry, I knew it would (paradoxically) cheer me up to hear some of this music. Yes, I have a very corny, sentimental side. Songs from West Side Story will still get me every time. On top of that, the contrast between my own performance of “If I Loved You” and hers (I played the part of Julie Jordan in a high school production of Carousel ; ) is really quite enough to drive me to tears all by itself. Of course, her orchestra doesn’t drag everything out like a dirge, but still… I couldn’t even match the performance of the Shirley Jones version.
Charlotte Church has such a beautiful voice. How I wish that I could sing like that. I used to practice singing along with the tracks of “ghost” Marni Nixon, but I never produced the sound I wanted with the songs I most enjoy. I sing a lot less now. I don’t have as much time alone as I used to, and it’s really not fair to torture my family with my version of “Glitter and Be Gay” – no matter how cathartic it may be.
So, anyway, the Disneyesque bird phenomenon began about halfway through “Habanera.” At that point, I noticed that there were a couple of little chickadees or something flitting around the back yard. During “Bali Ha’i“ these were joined by a stunning cardinal pair, and by the time it got to “The Little Horses,” there were about a dozen birds flying all around. They hopped around and tipped their little heads, and started singing with her!
A gigantic white cumulus cloud, swirling with fractal curls around its edges, drifted over the house. The new leaves whispered gently. I smelled a whiff of lavender.
And for a moment, everything was magical. Truly enchanting. I was transported.
Lovely, my dear Charlotte. Thank you.
But the moment moves on, and then I’m thinking of the genre: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five, and the ethereal voice of Charlotte Church. There is something almost uncanny about birds and women’s voices and love and spirit and… somehow …wait a minute…housecleaning? Sigh… I always though the villains were more interesting anyway. To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, they’re the plot, baby.
Nobody does this one better than Maria Callas, though, not even Charlotte Church. For this aria, you need the voice of experience. Look at her face. Stunning.
L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
et c’est bien en vain qu’on l’appelle,
s’il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n’y fait, menace ou prière,
l’un parle bien, l’autre se tait:
Et c’est l’autre que je préfère,
Il n’a rien dit mais il me plaît.
L’amour! L’amour! L’amour! L’amour!
L’amour est enfant de Bohême,
il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
si tu ne m’aimes pas, je t’aime:
si je t’aime, prends garde à toi! etc.
L’oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
battit de l’aile et s’envola …
l’amour est loin, tu peux l’attendre;
tu ne l’attends plus, il est là!
Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,
il vient, s’en va, puis il revient …
tu crois le tenir, il t’évite,
tu crois l’éviter, il te tient.
L’amour! L’amour! L’amour! L’amour!