Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Heart Swells....

This may have to be written in chunks - as I write now, I've just heard a piece on NPR about "Scheherezade". It was an interview with a conductor (don't ask me her name, or if it was Scott Simon who interviewed; when you know me better you'll know I have a problem remembering names) about the various movements and themes in the piece.

As a storyteller, of course, "1001 Nights" may be the touchpiece, the standard, although I assume that impending death would be a powerful incentive to keep a story going. But in my youth my ballet master was a fellow who had performed "Scheherezade" with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He was a genuine Old School Hungarian ballet master - if our developpe was not high enough, a good tap with his stick improved it. We worshipped him. Each year the school produced a performance, but this was no recital with spangles and tambourines. Oh no, it was a full ballet, at Northrop Auditorium on the U of MN campus, with the the orchestra under the baton of Antal Dorati. The costumes were commissioned from New York, the sets painted by a master-painter.... all in all, a full ballet performance of the sort seen in the old theatres of Europe.

And not everyone was in the performance. Oh, no, you had to wait for that moment when, after several years of classes (and you had to be over 13 so that you had the strength for toe slippers) Maestro would come over during class, tap you with the stick and say, "Yes, yes, start coming to rehearsal next week." That was IT! That meant that you could go to the shop where they fitted toe slippers, and you could begin to go to rehearsals, because you were "in the Company". Furthermore, perhaps the very best of all - you could wear pink tights. If you weren't in the Company, you couldn't wear pink tights.

Where all this is leading is, my first (and as it turned out, only) season in the Company, one of the ballets we performed was "Scheherezade." My role was small, but to this day hearing that exquisite music literally makes my heart swell and my eyes water. Maestro danced the Favorite Slave and his ethereal wife (she of the great gentle grey eyes) danced Zobeide, the Princess. Their costumes were replicas of the old Ballet Russe, all gold tissue and loops of pearls, and his makeup included some sort of gold dust which made him gleam. From my first lesson at that ballet school to the last, when college required all of my time, some of my richest of life memories occurred . Some good (that performance); some sad (I lost my mother while studying there); some profound life experiences (my First Serious Beau broke up with me). So hearing the incredible "Scheherezade" is a whole Event.

Thus inspired, I went shopping for small presents for my daughters-in-law who are mothers. While ambling around Target (a favorite sport of mine) I thought I'd check to see if they had a DVD of "Hair". They did. And it was cheap. I bought it. I brought it home and put it in to watch/listen to while tidying up a tad and getting settled to wait for the Lovely Daughter to come over and knit. It must be some weird moon phase, as watching it and hearing that music ALSO really got to me and I wound up sitting down and watching....and crying AGAIN! I am so past menopause (nevermind the hysterectomy) that I can assure you it's not PMS. But that whole hippie thing and anti-war thing and Viet Nam really gets to me, and when Burger gets marched off into the plane I just lose it. I might think it was flashbacks, but I didn't do THOSE kind of drugs in the '60s. I had two bittylittle kids. Is there such a thing as Severe Nostalgia Syndrome? Well, if there wasn't before I declare there is now. And I've got it bad.

Then the Lovely Daughter arrived, bringing my Mothers' Day present a day early. You will so not believe this: she gave me a LILAC!! No, not a bouquet, a whole real TREE! Even it has some flowers on it already with their amazing scent. You can bet that I'm spending time Sunday nestling it into position in the sunny front yard. I LOVE mother had them in our yard when I was a child and....oh oh, the Syndrome's kicking in again. OK, all in all, I've had a truly spectacular pre-Mothers' Day day. All that and some mighty sociable knitting in the bargain. In the greater scheme of things - one powerful mightyfine day.

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