How I have missed you. Going to Salome was what my young bones needed: to be steeped in the with the sophisticado. I remember going about every month or so to the opera from 6th to 12th grade, often watching the same melodramatic stories uncurling beneath my very feet. The reason I love it so much is three fold: 1. the ritual of mentally preparing yourself(or not) for it. 2. the sheer melodrama in the plot itself. And 3. The very primordial word choices that cause me to melt into my seat.
When I get ready for the opera, I love to channel my inner diosa. For
me, Cariña Frida is invoked. I love the pearls, the gems, the clicks and glides on my wrist. Oh, we haven't even begun without the silks! And its a communal activity. Imagine six or seven girls who become women with the flick of the hand as gentle strokes of kohl rims lids. As they chatter and enthusiastically tie lace strings on their back, they so adoringly forget that they are doing all of this to sit, back straight in black room. Through this process, the identity of the opera is established in the hearts and minds of everyone: the epitome of class. I love that. I love how the opera is loved for a select few of pretentious ones. There I said it! The epiphany was made!I AM PRETENTIOUS. And I love it.Opera brings the best out of us, does it not?
The opera makes me demonic. I laugh and love the jagged heart wrenching tales of women who are declared whores. Ironic isn't it? I mean I talk about being so foreword for women's rights yet when Salome just wanted to kiss the prophet, a part of me wanted to as well. The opera enables us to identify with extremes. Yes in many ways we women are the essence of Salome: FICKLE. Hadn't brother Shakespeare gotten it right when he vicariously spoke his mind while Hamlet uttered to his damned mother: frailty thy name is women. Breathtaking. You know, I am beginning to accept and embody my chingona status as a woman. We are fickle. It means little to me when people judge that. We just are. And opera is wonderful because its in our faces! We are the violated and the wronged! The only difference is that we own up to it now. We laugh at ourselves. So here it is for the coquetas. To humanity. And its vile nature. And the beauty that lurks in the stickiness in our souls. Oh Salome, you are the prophet! Not the dead lips you caressed.
Finally, the words. Oh the word. Words are the most rich part of the opera. In the opening scene of Salome, the description the moon was seen in three different lights: beautiful, vile, tired. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Once a man from the state department said that language was his currency in his business. Thats amazing. I love that. Language is the best weapon for anything. Not just to inflict pain but love as well.
At AU, for a couple weeks, I had been disappointed. I was wondering where the sophistication went? Why didn't people quote Proust in regular conversation? Why do people tell me I speak in an elevated manner? How pretentious right? Well I have the opera. And that's what keeps me grounded. I have found my secret by the Potomac.