I got last-minute rush seats to Baz Luhrmann's 'Boheme,' and my favorite singer, Ekaterina Solovyeva, was playing Mimi that day. My face got burned off when she sang the aria 'Donde Lieta Usci.' The woman was technically sobbing and singing opera at the same time. I don't know how you do that.
The first and perhaps the most important requirement for a successful writing performance - and writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig - is to understand the nature of the occasion.
An aria in an opera - Handel's 'Ombra mai fu,' for example - gets along with an incredibly small number of words and ideas and a large amount of variation and repetition. That's the beauty of it. It's not taxing to the listener's intelligence because if you haven't heard it the first time round, it'll come around again.
I never listen to music when I am writing. It would be impossible. I listen to Bach in the mornings, mostly choral music; also some Handel, mostly songs and arias; I like Schubert's and Beethoven's chamber music and Sibelius' symphonies; for opera, I listen to Mozart and in recent years Wagner.
Aria: I went to Hollis. Because I was looking for...you know. Her. She was teaching an art class, so I ran inside, grabbed a paintbrush, and painted a scarlet A across her chest. You know, like that woman in The Scarlet Letter? It was awesome. She didn't know what hit her. And then I said, 'Now everyone will know what you've done'. Ella: Do you realize that Hester Prynne is supposed to be a sympathetic character?
Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. His specialty is rhythm songs which he renders in an undistinguished whine; his phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner's aria in a bathroom. For the ear, he is an unutterable bore.
Memoir is trustworthy and its truth assured when it seeks the relation of self to time, the piecing of the shards of personal experience into the starscape of history's night. The materials of memoir are humble, fugitive, a cottage knitting industry seeking narrative truth across the crevasse of time as autobiography folds itself into the vast, fluid essay that is history. A single voice singing its aria in a corner of the crowded world.
A soprano in Massenet's Don Quixote complained that she had missed her entry in the aria, "because Mr. Challiapin always dies too soon." "Madam, you must be profoundly in error," said Sir Thomas, "No operatic star has yet died half soon enough for me."