A Furtive Tear

“A single furtive tear

From her eyes sprang:

As if of those playful youths

envious she appeared to become.

What more need I look for?

What more need I look for?

She loves me! Yes, she loves me, I see it. I see it.

Just for an instant the beating of

her beautiful heart I felt!

And my sighs became as one

fleetingly with her sighs!

Her heart beating, her heart beating to feel,

our sighs confounded as one…

Heavens! Yes I could, I could die!

More I can’t ask, I can’t ask.

Oh, heavens! Yes I could! Yes I could die!

More I can’t ask, I can’t ask.

Yes I could die! If I could die of love.”

 The above is the English translation of Una Furtiva Lagrima: a romanza taken from Act II, Scene VIII of the Italian opera, L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti. This was sung by my singing teacher, JT Englund, on Friday night as part of an opera performance in Gautier, Ms. I was priviledged to participate, not as a singer, but as a dancer. It was a memorable experience in so many ways.

The pictures were actually taken at the Thursday rehearsal by my granddaughter, Livvy, and her friend, Dana. They – with my daughter and grandson – were an enthusiastic audience as this grandmother forgot the frailties of age and danced with complete abandon and joy to this glorious music. Later, driving toward home and stopping to eat in a restaurant, they all encouraged the high I could not descend from.

The next night’s performance was equally joyful, though that might not be quite the word to describe the experience. I basked in the reality of being a performer. This was my natural place; I belonged in this world of nervous anticipation – the necessity of summoning the courage to truly stretch those wings that were made for soaring. And on this occasion I was with my peers. Their songs were my dance and my dance was their songs. The wholeness of the experience was epitomized by the fact that all of us stayed in the tiny backstage space just off the stage. Folding chairs were set up in the wings and as one performed the others sat listening, feeling, nodding, beaming at one another. As he or she “fell” from the stage, comrades were there to catch and embrace and cheer his/her accomplishment. The usual isolation of artistry was so thoroughly shared that it became unity.

And then there was the magic of a most unusual pas de deux. To step through the curtain and find him waiting there, to feel each gesture buoyed up and enriched by partnership. Perhaps I should call it a pas de troix because there was also the pianist, sharing our stage and accompanying – with a sensitive and attentive touch – the song, the dance. Guy Bowering was a capable angel through the entire program. Live music is like having an extra lung, and the power of JT’s magnificent lungs allowed me to surrender and become the sound made movement. How sweet to dance and find that “…I could die! If I could die of love!”


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2 Responses to “A Furtive Tear”

  1. Kendall Says:

    “Live music is like having an extra lung.” I am listening to Pavarotti sing this piece on Youtube as I read this, and read it again, and again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh2Vh8jwyQA

    I love these pictures, Leif. I’m so glad you danced again. I’m so glad you felt that “complete abandon and joy.”

    I think we do die of love. We love. It is the biggest experience of our lives, love. It takes all we have, it uses us up, it spends us..love spends us…love of every kind spends us, love for our children, for our lovers, for music, for the way the wind blows through the moss, for that thing in us that will be itself no matter what: love is what we die of, spent and used up. What a way to go.

  2. leiflife Says:

    “…for that thing in us that will be itself no matter what…” Dearest K, your words feel like a companion to my words. A completion, if you will. We have always danced together and always will – one way or another. And love has been the reason. Still is…

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