Friday, April 17, 2009

Life is Unfair, or Why Do I Still Like Opera?

The title of my post is the question I have been asking myself for the past couple of weeks now.

I had best begin at the inception of this train of thought. When my local PBS station's regular channel decided to air Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, I told my mother that I wanted to view it, to which she replied that this would probably be acceptable unless someone else wanted to watch something. This last part of the of the sentence, the caveat vendor if you will, applies to me since nobody else in my family, and I do mean no one else, likes opera, and, therefore, everyone else's viewing pleasure takes precedence over mine generally every time. I am aware that this is only fair since I am the minority, but since I have never been to a live opera performance, since I have not even been allowed to attend the Met's Live in HD engagements in theaters (I shall give my mother a little credit for at least reluctantly trying to take me to see Thais with Renee Fleming, though she would not take me to see the Met's Opening Night Gala at a local theater since she did not want to have to take me to a movie theater right after she finished working.) and since I have only ever been afforded the opportunity to go to only one recital by a singer in my entire life, I think it would be nice if I was allowed some liberty to watch opera on television on the increasingly rare opportunities I have to do so.

All of this finally brings us to the airing of Lucia di Lammermoor. When the appointed time came for the telecast to air, I asked my mother if I might watch it, and she offered me a counter inquiry of "What are the rest of us supposed to do, just leave the room?" Well, an hour later, after searching for something, anything, to watch on TV, she said in the most normal voice you can imagine, "Tyler, I suppose you can watch your opera thing you wanted to see now," and I responded that I had already missed a third of it. She enlightened me that I should grateful to view whatever I could of it, and normally I would be inclined to agree with her on a point such as this, but I felt more than a little disappointed that yet again I had been subjected to missing something I wanted to do because of something unimportant.

If you want to continue reading this dreary post, I will also tell you that Music Choice has removed their opera channel from their program offerings, and I am very upset at this. That channel at the end of my list of channels provided by my cable service provider was one of the staples of my leisure viewing, and arguably my favorite channel. I shall miss it. Perhaps they shall bring it back again soon. If there is anyone who liked that channel, I would encourage them to leave a comment on their website.

Finally, I cannot wait until I can see my first opera either Live in HD or at the Met. I do not think I should mind where I saw it so long as Renee Fleming was in the cast. I am hoping that I may begin driving soon, and that I may garner a the little amounts of freedom that shall accompany that privilege. By the way does anyone have any suggestions for me to see opera?


Melissa said...

I have four responses to your post:

1. Life is indeed unfair; no one promised it would be otherwise! But fair has nothing to do with it; there's no reason you should not love opera.

2. It seems that your family is very conservative Christians. It might be persuasive to let your mother know that Thais is an opera about a sinner who repents and is saved, and a hypocrite (that may not be accurate; he battled his temptation to the end, but finally was overcome) who received his just desserts.

3. The human voice is the only musical instrument created by God, and ought therefore to be honored above all other kinds of music.

4. "Majority rules" is not the only way of being fair; taking turns is another.

Good luck, and God be with you as you struggle to grow into mature and independent manhood.

Tyler said...


Thank you for your four responses to my post. Though I understand that this post may indicate otherwise, I realize that life is unfair, and I like to entertain the idea that I am far more mature than this post makes me look. I will deal with each of your four kind responses in kind.

1. I have already spoke of part of this in my previous paragraph, but I shall elaborate and finish by saying that you need not worry about me suddenly giving up opera. I do not think I could actually ever do that except if I felt that God asked me to do so.

2. Yes, my family, me included with them, is indeed very conservatively Christian. I think your judgement of Athanael in "Thais" is a little too harsh. Your parenthetical statement may be closer to my opinion. In my opinion a hypocrite is one who professes one thing, yet he deliberately does something contrary to his said belief. I think that Athanael veritably believed he could transform Thais from her promiscuous self into a Christian.

3. I agree with the first part of this idea, but the second section dictates that we should do something that is not compulsory to living a life of excellence. We may choose to laud the human voice over the other instruments that God inspired men to invent, but think of the rich emotional spectrum created by the piano or the violin and the dexterity involved in playing one of these instruments.

4. I must defer from your opinion that the ruling of the majority is fair. It puts the question in the favor of the people who are against you every time unless you relenquish your position or happen to be a part of the majority. In any case I like the suggestion of taking turns; nevertheless, I do not think it will help me currently, but thank you for your input.

Finally, I am glad to see that people are still reading my blog, among them people with whom I have never acquainted myself, and I hope that you continue to read it. May God bless you also.