Monday, April 7, 2014

rites of passage

It can be a dreaded moment my father explained to me, if a General Manager walks to the center stage of any opera house to address its patrons in person.  Odds are no one has died as they will in the coming acts waiting to play out on the stage, but someone, likely the main soprano or tenor, has become ill and a replacement is being announced.

On the other hand, it's an exhilarating moment few people ever get to witness if applause and ovation are so very great that the conductor directs a number to be repeated.  During his many decades with opera, my dad saw this happen just twice.  The first was live, in Atlanta, during the duet performance in act one of La Boheme starring Franco Corelli and Renata Tebaldi.  The second was in a 2002 telecast of Nabucco, James Levine conducting and directing the chorus.  I know for a fact my father cried during the latter.  I'd bet money he did in the Fox Theater too. 

In my brief history with opera, I've watched shows with last minute cast changes so it was not a surprise when, at last Saturday's live broadcast from the Met, Peter Gelb came forward to deliver the news; Anita Hartig had the flu and Kristine Opolais was graciously taking her place.  Okay I thought, having learned by now that the show really does go on and usually magnificently.  

And this one did. . .

The soprano Opolais had, the night before, made her debut as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly on the Met stage and it's reported that following a dinner celebration she woke to the phone call requesting her to sing another staring role, one she hadn't sung in a full year, at that afternoon's one o'clock matinee.  With less than three hours of sleep Opolais accomplished what no other soprano has in the history of the Metropolitan Opera; she sang as Mimi in La Boheme, her second debut of two leading roles in back to back performances less than eighteen hours apart.

It was a beautiful, historic performance and though I didn't see it live at the Met, it feels as if I entered another world of opera that afternoon; my dad's world.  I now have a story, a rich opera tale of my own.  

I only wish I could share it with him.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


My gosh, 
why does grass seem greener elsewhere
this start of spring,
as cheery yellow daffodils fight weeds 
to emerge from their winter beds,
when I'm blooming too, 
roots planted

Saturday, March 1, 2014

blue light

After a great evening, there is something oddly intimate about closing the bar down with your friends.  

A public space turns private.  

After hours truths are shared. 

Shots are offered by the house and though the trio has packed up, someone may head back on stage with a lone guitar.  

I hadn't had a night like this in a while.  

It was lovely.

The Kitchen Cafe, Preston Road, Dallas

Friday, February 14, 2014

my valentine, i love him so

humble - perceptive - shy - honest - curious - veteran - gentle 
private - loving - savvy - masculine - accepting - funny - laidback soulful - protective - gracious - hopeful - thankful - rich - doting predictable - confident - lighthearted - extraordinary - brave 
organized - respectful - sexy - optimistic - introverted - dignified 
spontaneous - calm - patriotic - resolute - handsome - patient
courteous - attentive - free - methodical - positive - bold - content
interesting - sweet - raw - caring - generous - smart - timid 
steadfast - unpredictable - happy - worthy - measured - quiet - loyal
wise - frank - romantic - fun - secure - daring - bashful - prepared
grateful - strong - witty - giving - dedicated - secretive - polite
tender - disciplined - kind - reserved - intuitive - willing - loner 

Friday, January 31, 2014

open books

Are we not
like open books,
wearing hearts on our sleeves,
visible and endearing as dog-eared pages,                 
yet knowing the best we offer,
the juiciest parts of us,
will be found only by those wanting,
daring enough,
to read between the lines?


Saturday, January 11, 2014

nothing lasts forever

I have been very wrongly accused by the wife of a friend, an old and dear friend.  Her words came at me in the night, unexpectedly and with the tone of a woman scorned.  

My friend, now a stranger to me, a ghost, chose to cease our friendship.

I've no place to present myself except in this spot, this blank slate where I come to always speak honestly and from my heart, but the very truths which I could write, which might help a misguided wife find her way, I suspect, would fall on deaf ears. 

I am sad.  I am hurt.  I am pissed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

becoming inclusive

Spoke and I have hosted this, our favorite holiday, for as long as we've been married.  Our two small families gathered for many years spanning sunny, 80 degree days to threats and realities of snow or ice storms.  The afternoons started with champagne and Mom's Puffs which my mother-in-law had the honor of serving on the silver platter while they were hot out of the oven.  We'd later fill a table with all the traditional dishes, served as close as possible to halftime of the Cowboy game for dear, dear dad. 

In the course of the day, before the onslaught of pies, there was a Mystery Can contest, begun when my parents discovered a can of food in the pantry whose label had fallen off in their move to Dallas.  We all threw in a dollar, wrote down our best guess of its contents and the winner took the pot.  We continued playing the game every Thanksgiving, friends providing us a bare can.  One year it was dog food and someone actually got it right. 

Though small, we were a very close family and by that nature, we were exclusive on this day as are many families.  Our Thanksgivings now have changed so much; Eddie, Ellie, Ernie and Colleen are gone, leaving only just as many, barely enough of us to warrant abundance. But from my longing and in the spirit of the holiday, a feast was planned and as we extended invitations, to my joyful surprise, they were eagerly accepted.

Champagne bottles will be uncorked around 2:00 as we lay out antipasti.  Maybe there will be a toast or two.  Football turned on an hour later in one room, jazz in another.  Wines will be opened. 

Strangers will have become acquaintances. 

Turkey and Commander's Palace Crab Cakes will then take center stage at the buffet with many more dishes alongside and many more wines opened.  I'll say a private blessing for this day.

Likely needing a breather, we'll determine the Mystery Can winner.

Pies will then be sliced and affogato will be offered four ways; traditional, chocolate, caramel or vanilla.  Gelato if they prefer, may be topped with warm stewed fruit or Italian cherries in syrup, all served with espresso or cappuccino.  Or more wine.

Acquaintances will have become friends.