Monday, June 7, 2010
Even You, O Princess, In Your Cold Room...
"Listen listen listen..."
"So there was this opera I went to today."
"Oh like the other one?"
"No.. that was live.. 'If I Were King', right? This was a movie that had filmed a live opera. And the name's 'Turandot'. It's part of a series of ballets and operas they are showing at the India International Center all this month. A Summer Carnival of sorts."
"So it's named after the Chinese princess Turandot, who's the protagonist, icy cold but very pretty and has insisted that she will only marry the guy who answers her 3 riddles. And the hero, Calaf, well he likes her and is brave enough to take up the challenge knowing that if he fails to answer, they will execute him. And he gets the answers correct. But then the princess gets cold feet and doesn't want to give up her independence. Then Calaf says, I have only one riddle for you. If you guess my name by dawn, you can execute me. But if you don't, you must marry me. So now the princess has ordered all the people of Peking (now Beijing) to stay up all night and look for any clue whatsoever into what the guy's name is. That's where a famous song comes in. Nessun Dorma."
"Well it's not really a 'song', in an opera they call it an 'aria', you'll have to google it. But you know how long I have been a fan of it? Ever since 2nd year in college I think.. it's just beautiful!"
"Yeah! And then there's a version of it sung by Luciano Pavarotti who used to give it such a majestic air. In the opera though, it was performed by Placido Domingo, the guy who played Calaf, as he talks basically about how the secret will always be safe with him and he will be victorious in the end. Nessun Dorma means 'none shall sleep' I think. So anyway the search is on and a slavegirl called Liu does know Calaf's name but she kills herself since she wants the guy to be united with the one he loves. She had a crush on Calaf but he just calls her Little Liu and is fond of her and that's all. Meanwhile, the people of Peking have been pushing the guy to surrender but he doesn't relent. And later, he kisses Turandot. Suddenly, the princess is transformed. She asks him what he's done to her and says she feels like she's melted and all that crap. But you know what scared me? A lot of the things that she said were exactly what I have been experiencing. In fact I was thinking maybe I could use some of her words in my proposal. It's a little sad to know it isn't original but as long as it's time-honoured, I guess that counts too. And you know what else? There's this image of a spy that's created to woo women. You know, the guy with secrets. The guy whose name no one knows. And it gets revealed only to the one he loves. Like if you see even in Catch Me If You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio goes around with a thousand aliases, Frank Connors, Frank Taylor, etcetera etcetera.. but it's only to some Brenda that he reveals that it's actually Frank William Abagnale Jr."
"Did you just say one person died?"