A few weeks ago, a new friend told me she had an extra ticket to a charity concert at the Vatican. Without details, my mind was made up, I was going to this concert. But it got better. The concert was featuring Italy’s opera super stars, including Andrea Bocelli, singing, for lack of a better term – opera’s greatest hits. If Bocelli’s name sounds familiar it’s probably because you had ears in the late nineties and may remember this little number.
So there we were with our fancy vellum printed tickets, going through security with Rome’s fur-clad elite, on our way to a private live-broadcasted concert on the Vatican grounds in the company of at least a dozen Cardinals – maybe even the Pope! (No he never showed, but we had hopes, it was a benefit for a children’s hospital.) Two thoughts continually looped in my mind: (1) the existential wow-this-is-my-life moment, and (2) I need to find a good tailor, I’ve lost weight and my nice clothes don’t fit anymore. I normally celebrate this but on this occasion it made me feel frumpy. A feeling which quickly went away when the lights were turned down and the music started.
Until we got there I didn’t have a lot details about what we were in for. I was surprised to find out that it was being televised and hosted by a daytime tv host and lasted for about two hours. It didn’t feel that long though. I don’t know a lot about opera, I went to The Barber of Seville when I was in elementary school, and I have the likes of Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, and O Mio Babbino Caro on my playlists. I didn’t know if this was going to be modern opera that I didn’t recognize, or if it was going to be mostly a fundraiser with a few performances.
They performed two out of my three opera songs, including several choir, orchestral, and violin solos. When the music is this good and performed this masterfully you don’t need fore-knowledge of pieces, just a soul. It was beautiful, drop the mic good, and I got to be a part of it. I took a few shaky iphone pics for posterity, but I was desperately trying to keep it on the down-low and not be tacky, even though half the audience was doing the same thing. Some people were conspicuously filming.
Thanks to my friend, I now I have the opera bug, I hear they have outdoor operas on the forum during the summer. So look out for that post, because that is happening.