The school day today was filled with issues that ushered in bunches of low morale. A union meeting after school revealed new and some unresolved problems. I was not in a good mood. On the drive home from school, there was too much news about the failed healthcare website and the cancellation of healthcare plans. And if I hear John Boehner’s voice one more time, I think I will scream. I had to turn the radio off.
I knew music was what I needed and I wanted it big and loud. Though I might have chosen Balkan Beat Box or some Rolling Stones, I was somehow drawn to Renee Fleming. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was big– big songs, her big powerful voice, enormously tragic stories, exquisitely controlled music. As I worked my way north down Lake Shore Drive through rush hour traffic, Madama Butterfly, Mimi, Princess Turandot, La Wally, Manon, Carmen, Juliette, and Norma accompanied me loudly, boisterously, and intimately, exploding with passion. All along the lake as the sun was setting, these heroines suffered jealousy and caused it, were betrayed and betrayed others, were jilted and jilted others, committed suicide, were killed, and were bursting with extreme depths of love in larger-than-life emotional arias which swirled around me inside my small and compact Prius. The music was so beautiful, so precise, so nuanced that it lifted my spirits while simultaneously pulling at my heartstrings. I was surprised when I pulled in the garage that the ride home seemed to pass so quickly. How can tragedy and emotional distress be so absolutely stunning? How can misfortune and adversity become so aesthetically appealing and compelling? How does art so easily and completely transform catastrophe and pain?
I guess there’s a lesson here. Moving the tragic into the artistic is the ticket. I’m foolishly and whimsically thinking that the healthcare website, insurance companies, union challenges, and yes, even John Boehner, just need the right aria.