Friday, 8 January 2016

Au Font Du Temple Saint

Today's blog was triggered by listening to a re run of radio 4's "Desert Island Discs" where old Kirsty was chatting to he bloke who wrote the novel " Brooklyn"
In 1987 I was living in the city of York, and while working as a psychiatric nurse, I was adopted as a fledgling gay best friend to an older and much more cultured occupational therapist called Ally. 
One of the first things she " introduced" me to was live theatre and early on during our social relationship she took me over to the Theatre Grand in Leeds to experience my very first opera.
The production was Opera North's version of The Pearl Fishers

I remember to this day the experience of my very own " Pretty Woman" moment  when " Au Font du temple saint" , the famous " friendship" duet between fishermen Nadir and Zurga , belted out around the auditorium. 
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up in a moment of pure pleasure

It wasn't a mere " I love Opera" moment 
But it WAS a red letter " growing up....there is so much more to life " moment. 
What was yours?" 


71 comments:

  1. As a teenager, when a girl I knew was murdered by the boy who had given me my first proper kiss - that is when I grew up and the innocent bubble I lived inside was burst.

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    1. Bloody hell simone........start on a high note x

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  2. When I was about 27, I remember speaking to some people from school who I used to think we're really smart and intelligent ....after this chat, I realised that they were in fact a pair of twats with a level of intelligence I probably had myself at that same age I was placing them on a pedestal ...suddenly I realised it was confidence I was lacking ..not intelligence

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    1. Funny that you always seem to remember these red letter moments

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  3. The moment I remember is distracting myself from the pain of giving birth by focusing really really hard on sticking the centre of my palm into the edge of a wooden chair a la Michael Caine in that spy film....although I think he uses a nail....and I thought that if I concentrated on the pain in my palm and not the overwhelming pain elsewhere I would be ok...and I was terrified and remember thinking 'this is it...not just me anymore....my baby is nearly here...I have to be grown up and my whole life is going to be different'...and it was and is and all that pain was forgotten....

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    1. Thank god men cant have babies

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  4. When I saw that you had listened to last Sunday's Desert Island Discs I thought the post was going to be about Colm Toibin not his opera moment. I listened to it on the day it was broadcast and thought what a wonderful man and what a great teacher he had who encouraged him to keep writing and how he described going off to Dublin to university and great moments in his life, living in Barcelona etc; I felt all the great moments of my own early life, leaving home etc. when I was listening. I expect you thought of a few more too.

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    1. Yes...i had a few to share but i couldnt be bothered listing them all...me me me !
      I enjoyed the intervew. Kirsty is a unsung hero of bbc interviewing

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    2. I loved his voice.

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  5. When I was 10 or 11 and my sweet uncle took me to Radio City Music Hall and then to tea at the Russian Tea Room in "the city." Just me, just me, all dressed us as much as I could be, he took just me. I was important to someone. My Uncle Roy. Bless him!

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    1. Omg .. That brought back memories..the Prof and I did the same thing.....we loved the tea rooms.....it was lunch time and was filled with jewish mommas

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    2. I was early pregnant with our son when my husband took me to the Russian Tea Room. He knew how much I loved tea ... problem was, I suffered from serious "morning" sickness. . all day . So sitting in the Tea Room was torture lol. He took me back after the baby was born so I could enjoy it properly.
      It is such a beautiful place ..I haven't been there in such a long time though .. shame on me.

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    3. Didn't the Russian Tea Room go out of business? It might have reopened. I know Tavern On The Green did.

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  6. When I was a second year student nurse and was sent to the private ward to help out. I was told that a lady was very upset and to go and chat with her. She talked about her mastectomy, and asked my advice as to how she should proceed with a physical relationship with her hubby as she was scared he would reject her due to the deformed chest area. ( This was about 1982, pre reconstructions as they are now). I was out of my depth really, but what I said must have worked because her consultant came to find me and was complimentary to me. I felt a proper grown up nurse at last.

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    1. And it stayed with you! Thats wonderful

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  7. Many, many moments but music is one of the strongest. Elvis singing 'Heartbreak Hotel' when I was about 10, and then the Bruch violin Andante when I was about 32. Music is strong. Love Andie xxx

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  8. That was the only bit of decent music he chose as far as I am concerned. As to the question, I'll think about it before I blurt out some more filth in an unthinking fashion.

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    1. Oh, and H.I. loves Katherine Ferrier, so she was happy.

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    2. I'm still waiting for the filth

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    3. Less Tourette's-style filth is my N.Y. resolution.

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    4. I dont believe it for an instant

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    5. I meant New York resolution, and I'm not in New York right now, you silly fucking cunts.

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    6. Thats bettter....sigh

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    7. Anyway, what's happened to all your chickens, geese and other fowl? Something happened with Mr Fox which you are not telling us about?

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    8. I was worried about Tom for a minute there :D

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  9. Thanks for that, John. It might have had the hairs on the back of your neck standing up, but it left me a blubbering wreck. I wish I'd finished eating my dinner before I listened to them singing. Absolutely beautiful!

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    1. The guy with the beard is a cutie too

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  10. Very similar ... For me- It was Ballet.
    I was 21 when I married my husband , who was 36.
    On one of our first nights out (dates) .. he took me to see a ballet at Lincoln Center (NYC) ...
    I felt like Cinderella or something.
    When my son was a little thing .. maybe 4 .. we took him to the ballet.
    Afterwards, we asked him how he liked the ballet .. he said he liked the dancing but not the music so much lol

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    1. The Prof and I went to the Met on one of our first visits to new york.....it was a magical experience...we saw The Magic Flute

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    2. Oh how fabulous !! And every time you hear the music, does it take you back there to the Met ? :)
      I saw Baryshnikov , Nureyev , Carla Fracci, oh I can't remember all the magnificent ballet dancers I got to see dance .. lucky lucky me.

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  11. I was born grown up, my lovely mum still behaved like a teenager even when she was 60.
    But this piece of music is included in my funeral arrangements, along with Build me up Buttercup by the Foundations, how's that for an eclectic combination!

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    1. I've now included it in mine

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  12. The Pearl Fishers Duet is quite something. In a similar vein, one of mine was hearing the aria from La Wally sung in the movie Diva.

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    1. I think Diva was responsible for a whole new generation getting interested in opera

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    2. I have to see that again ..

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  13. Thank you for sharing your moment and asking for ours, John! What a moment, sitting in a darkened theatre, absorbing the sound and moment!

    For me, it was a different theatre of sorts. After an 8 year hiatus due to first husband issues, I had the opportunity to sit on the back of a horse again. Just sitting, and remembering why I love this view the most. Fast forward to today, and I can sit/ride anytime I want to as the most noble creatures now live in my backyard...

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  14. I went to school in Stratford-upon-Avon, the same school as Shakespeare, and, consequently, got dragged to see endless plays. All very tedious until at about the age of 14 I saw a production of Julius Caesar, which astonished me, because it was so well produced, directed and acted that it made the play come alive in an astonishing way. I've been a keen opera fan for over 30 years and used to go when I could afford it in London. Now I'm living in the middle of a wood above
    Lake Maggiore in Italy, so not much music to be had here but I have promised myself a trip to La Scala this year......

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    1. Its funny just how just one moment of drama can change you

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  15. One of my very favourite duets of all time.

    XO
    WWW

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  16. The lovely husband and me had been married a couple of years and were having a great time, late nights, gigs, pubs, huge weekend lay- ins, all the usual stuff. Then I met an old school friend with her very new baby. I basically dragged the husband home and carried him to bed demanding a baby now! Considering I was never going to have kids (I was going to save the world or some thing equally noble!) this was a huge u-turn. Smart ass husband thought it was hilair as he always predicted I would one day grow up and want kids. The "kids" are now 25 and 26!

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    1. Thank god he was ready too

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    2. He was waiting patiently for me to realise what I actually wanted, rather than what others wanted for me. Plus he is the most fabulous husband and dad. I love him very, very much

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  17. Goodness, so many moments... Hmmmm.

    When I was 14 I had breast reduction surgery, a thoroughly unpleasant experience, and for various reasons was only given Tylenol (aka acetaminophen or paracetamol) for the pain although stronger had been ordered for me. Anyway...

    I was finally released from the hospital nearly a week later and when we got home I knew if I could survive that, I could survive anything.

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    1. I know you know what Tylenol is. =P Thoroughly gorgeous music, btw.

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  18. Can't think of my moment( not sure it has happened yet) but wanted to thank you for the music.. sublime
    Gill

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    1. Think harder..we all have a moment x

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  19. My Mother in Law and I went to see Swan Lake when I was in my twenties, I blubbed as soon as the music began and continued to do so throughout, it was so moving x

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    1. I remember the prof doing the same when i bought him tickets to the royal ballet x

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    2. Hello from another Blubber. The music moves you, it grabs your emotions and pulls them every which way, the only thing you can do is cry .. and enjoy it.

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  20. I enjoyed reading all the comments. I didn't have a more to life moment because I lived with my parents and then I lived with my husband. Perhaps my moment has been gradual, because I have slowly grown more happy during the past five years of post-divorce. Perhaps my moment came when I got Faulkner, the late great smooth collie, in 1998. The first night he was with us, he fell asleep in the family room. The tabby cat, Milhous, approached Faulkner and startled him awake. He jumped up and began to chase Milhous. My husband who is no longer my husband hit Faulkner. I said, Don't you dare hit my dog.
    Love,
    Janie

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  21. The usual moments I guess....marriage, child birth, but I think when our daughter got married and moved out I realized I didn't need her in the house to define my existence and when I retired I realized I didn't need a job to flush me out of bed in the morning....there was more.

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  22. Seeing my dear Mother on stage for the first time was quite life-changing. Otherwise arriving in France aged 25, complete with wife, 2 kids, and a dog, was pretty weird. I remember looking at the huge house I'd bought, as well as all its land, I simply thinking "What the fuck have I done". 43 years later I think it wasn't so silly.

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  23. The first time my aunt dragged me to see an opera, the "Aida" at the the Arena of Verona, I was 20 years old. Real elephants were brought on stage! I loved it and, ever since, I either go see an opera, play, ballet or concert held there each summer. Greetings Maria x

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  24. For a true "hairs standing up on the back of the neck" moment, can I suggest you check out Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill singing that duet? IMO, their voices are far superior to the pair in your video link.

    From A Lurker.

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  25. Yes, this duet heard in isolation is right up there with the very best duets ever composed - and I wouldn't take issue with anyone who claimed that it was THE greatest of all.
    I've only seen the opera once, maybe 40 years ago, but I do recall thinking that although Georges B. knows he's got one hell of a tune, he's doing himself no favours by flogging it to death far too many times, so as to devalue its worth in the context of the opera. I'd need to see the complete opera again to find out if I hold the same opinion.

    Btw: Can't play your clip above as I'm still 'soundless'. Shame.

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  26. wonderful comments as always John. I had to remain calm when a friend frieked out in a cave we visited. the dim lights went off totally so I had to hold her hand and feel my way along the cave walls to the foot of the staircase. oh and when I was a nanny I had to overcome my fear of spiders for the little boys and they were REALLY BIG spiders !

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  27. No huge life-changing moment really, but when I left my first husband and found myself to have been frozen out of bank a/c and promised share of our business etc, I had a bit of a shock to the system.
    At 27 I had to grow up.
    I find it so amazing that the 'little bearded guy' can produce such a wonderful large sound!

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  28. I can't think of a one! Maybe I just haven't had my moment yet. I guess I'll relish yours.

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  29. I had not so much a moment but several years of exposure to the mind-blowing new-thinking of the "alternative culture" in the sixties and seventies. After a very authoritarian upbringing of thoroughly conservative opinions and aspirations, I was introduced to an amazing cornucopia of new ideas and never looked back. Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation were just two of the things that gave me a whole new outlook on life.

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  30. I think the first for me was watching Frederic March (I think) play the role of Chopin when I was very young. I was mesmerized and knew I had to learn to play the piano (talk about a cuckoo in a working class home - my love of classical music totally bewildered my lovely family). Then leaving home at 21 to work "just for 5 months in Switzerland" because I had always said I would. And flying into Geneva over the mountains I KNEW I wasn't going back. And strangely enough, over many years of beatings by my violent ex I began drinking heavily. While I sought treatment and was trying not to drink, he came into the house, supposedly fully supporting me, and bought in a bottle of rose. Drank 2 glasses (he never ONLY drank 2 glasses - he always finished the bottle) - and said I'll leave that for you. I actually poured it down the drain but I remember the dr. saying "and you think that was an accident do you"? Strangely enough I watched the sad documentary on Amy Winehouse last night and at one point she and her rat of a husband (you know, the one who introduced her to hard drugs), were going to go into rehab. "Lovely" Blake wanted them to go into the same place and the clinic said no way, it will never work (and of course it didn't because Blake smuggled crack in to her). The doctor's comment from the clinic that refused to take them both went something like "of course, when a manipulative person senses that their gravy train might be coming to an end, they will do all they can to sabotage the other person". And how right it was because my ex could see that losing me would mean losing his access to not only his salary but also mine - which he spent as freely as he could. So another lightbulb moment just last night then. Anna

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    1. Thank you for this..... I too watched Amy and was terribly depressed by it all.... It was a car crash and she was so vunerable ...the ending was mapped out from the start. She couldnt change her life but you did ....
      A great post

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  31. My defining opera moment was in the early 1980s watching the movie Diva (French, dir. JJ Beineix) which was a big hit at the time, I think I watched it four or five times, small indie cinemas were becomeing all the rage. It feels a bit cumbersome now but still worth watching. One of the many story lines in this movie is about a young man infatuated with an opera diva and another story line is a secret recording of an aria from the Italian opera La Wally (no idea of the composer). This is the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTLF9TIx6lE

    I generally dislike opera, had it forced down my throat by my parents.

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  32. Honestly, the Internet. Before I went on it, the whole wide world out there was just a rumor.

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  33. Sudden death at forty one, of my then husband, living in an "all things wonderful" world and then being thrust into another living life was my wake up . . . when "waking" wasn't my desire . . .
    Took me a bit . . . quite a long bit . . .
    Now thirty five years later . . .
    Happy I have lived . . .

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