Thoughts on opera and dad
Dad’s been gone for a little over a year. Today would have been his 91st birthday. One of the last things he did was to go to the opera. Dad loved music. Nothing gave him greater joy than singing or listening to beautiful music. From the time he was in college, he belonged to a barbershop group or chorus. That love of music that was passed on to his children. His barbershop quartet sung us to sleep when we were babies. As an adult, my brother even joined the barbershop chorus my father belonged to. Dan loved a good party, and would often do his best Ike Turner at local bars that had karaoke contests, his booming bass filling the room. Through junior high and high school, even into community college I performed in musicals, church choirs and theater groups. I had no idea how much my father’s love of opera had influenced me until I took my own son to his first opera. My husband and I chose Puccinni’s, La Boheme. It had all the things a kid could love raucous behavior, sword fights, fun, of course there’s tragedy but that’s opera. My own introduction to opera was ideal and I didn’t think it would ever be matched. It was the perfect choice for my sister and I. Stern Grove in San Francisco was the setting for Madam Butterfly, my first opera. The costumes were colorful and the music by Puccini was exquisite. The day was glorious and warm and I was hooked. Thereafter, Dad I bonded over all kinds of music, but I was the only one of six kids who seemed to share his love of opera. When I came across the program my mother saved from the event, I was astounded. It had made such an impression on me that, I had chosen the same date, and my son was the same age as I was when I saw Madam Butterfly!
Dad and I agreed, we liked the more musical, lyrical, operas by Puccini, Bizet, Mozart. Today, in his honor, I listened to the famous duet by the two male leads in the Pearl Fishers. The illustration of the final scene in Act I by Antonio Bonamare.