Saturday, July 23, 2011

True Blood

"Fear is insidious. It maims the soul."

"What do you fear," I asked tapping my recorder to guarantee that it had started.  "I mean you have the operatic worlds poised to open their theaters and their check books for you."

"Yes.  Performing is the act of love, self-love, selfless love, and selfish love. I've wondered often if I would have chosen this profession if my parents hadn't been so self-absorbed with their romance."

"You were destined to be a singer, a great one from what I've heard." I always wanted to sing but my vocal chords only produce rumbling gurgles that sound like I'm hungry.

"Well, I do believe that it was my destiny.  As I believe that I was destined to work with Phisto and Luca."

"Yes, what about them? They're both, well, in the words of one of my gay friends, magnificent animals.  How can you resist either?"

"Do you believe," Jasmine asked while twirling her long sheathe of coppery blonde hair, "that we have one soul partner? One above all else who completes us?"

I laughed, thinking of Cairn from whom I was separated temporarily while he continued his battle with StormRider.  "I think that there is one who is most suited to us but that we can reasonably make our home with several hearts."

"I think," she answered with music lilting in her well-modulated voice, "that there is one who completes us in human form, like God does in a spiritual one.  One who was part of our being from the beginning of time.  Finding that person can make all of the difference."

"And if you don't find them?  We rarely do."

"Then there is music.  It's the perfect amalgam of art, spirituality and truth.  It's completion.  It saved my life."

"Yes, I've heard that.  Tell me about it."

"I developed PTSD after my parents were killed and lost my voice.  I didn't even know that I'd had a gift then.  But I couldn't speak.  My grandfather, Grappa I call him, is very wise.  He took me too a famous voice teacher when I responded to his attempts to sing to me at night when the blackness fell upon me."


"You know, fear, terror, abandonment.  Grappa suffered a heart attack not long after my parents died and I stopped speaking after that.  After they'd patched him up and he'd come home, he began singing to me at night.  Apparently I responded to that and began to hum.  It was, the only way that I'd communicate for a few months."

"And so he took you to a voice teacher?  Ingenious."

"Yes, he's a remarkable man."

"You learned then that you had a voice?"


"What frightens you now?  You have youth, beauty, talent."

"I'm afraid of making the wrong choices.  A misstep in such a young career could finish me before I'm started.  I'm afraid that I'll never trust someone enough to love them."

"Do you trust your instincts?"

"Sometimes.  I need to become more acquainted with the still soft voice within.  I believe that is the voice of the divine."

"And your advisors?  Luca?  Phisto?"

"Ah, that is a more difficult question to answer."


"Have you met them?" Jasmine asked and took a sip of peppermint iced tea.

"I've not had the pleasure."

"You would be able to understand with greater clarity if you had met them.  Phisto is powerful in a way that men aren't.  He's visceral, genius and with a raw power.  Luca is mesmerizing, spiritual and he makes me want to be a better musician, a better woman."

"Do the two influences need to conflict?"

"You're a gifted journalist.  What do you think?"

"I think that one is associated with power and conquering, the other with serving the gift of music and using that almost as a healing tool."

"Oh, but you are perceptive."

"Why did you contact me Jasmine?"

"I need your help.  I've never experienced anything like this before.  They're more than men and I've wondered if they weren't perhaps supernatural.  That is how powerful and compelling that they are."

"Couldn't they just be powerfully gifted men with great sexual magnetism?  That's what I've heard."

"Perhaps I can explain it better.  Or, I could have you meet me at the theater one day.  Maybe then you will understand.  You have more experience with this than I."

"What is your truth?"  I asked.

"One's truth is as fickle as one's perception." Jasmine answered her luminous eyes alight with
amber overtones.

"We all know the truth for ourselves.  That is something you have to discover."

"I know that, through my Reiki practice.  But I often think that truth should be definitive, like blood.  You're one type or another.  It's absolute."

"True blood, you mean," I laughed.  "If truth were absolute free will would be easier to navigate.  It would mitigate the messy gray areas."

"Still, it's something to consider."

"Yes," I agreed.  "But our choices define our character and our souls.  You wouldn't want someone to take that privilege away from you."

"Privilege comes with great responsibility.  Few realize the implications.  It's something that I am just learning."

Neither of us knew how much Jasmine had to learn or how she would be tested in the ultimate battle for her soul and her career.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Winter is Coming

It's finally happened.  The musical community has been buzzing about my blog, and Jasmine, the brilliant new soprano at the American Opera Center, has finally contacted me.  There's a lot of chatter about her career and what she will accomplish, but tonight, she is concerned only with the men who are controlling her.  The men that she loves.  Differently.  Definitively.

Luca composes as though he were transcribing music from the celestial realms.  His compositions are magical, mystical, mysterious.  He is manly. Jasmine is drawn to him like an instrument to music.  She needs his music and his love to fulfill her in the same way that the piano needs the composition.

And there is Phisto, the magnetic and fierce conductor who raises music from scratches on a page to emotions that penetrate and compel the audience.  Jasmine's response to him is visceral.

Phisto is the career.  He is the strategist and impressario who introduces the most talented artists to their future.

Luca is the art form.  He embodies how music can transport us from our worldly drudgeries, and introduce us to our soul.  He composes because that is who he is.  Luca's music interprets our yearnings, gives voice to our imaginations.  It is the substance of our dreams.

They each want to know who Jasmine will choose to be, the artist or the career woman.  They each want to know who she will love.

Jasmine knows that winter is coming.  She knows that her choice will be made at the Violet Hour.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Talent - God's Gift or Revenge

     “I will serve God because I’m talented and it is my desire to serve him.  Why can’t I also have what I want?  I want you.  Is it so extraordinary that a great talent will also benefit from some rewards?”
            “Didn’t you say that we can’t serve two masters?  Well we have several masters now and none of them it seems, are pleased.”
            “If I write for God, I will do my best work.  Through that I will be awarded the commissions and freedom to escalate your career so that we can be left in peace to marry and love each other.  I love you, Fiora.  You must know that.”
            “I do.  If only love were enough.”
            “It is.  It has to be.”
            “You can say that when I was separated from my family, my beloved sister, Lucia.  Even now we steal moments for we don’t know when we will have another one.”
            “A man has a right in this new age to create his life.  I will give them my best work and I will be rewarded.”
            “You are already writing for an inferior vocal talent.  Tell me, hasn’t that compromised your work.  How have you reworked the tessitura to accommodate a small and limited voice?”
            “Let’s leave then.  We will make our way in another city.  We will marry and offer our services as a couple to other patrons.”
            “Can we go so far that we will escape the Medici’s powerful reach?  I think not.”
            “What do you suggest, Fiora?  You see no merit in my plans.”
            “I think that we are tied to our destinies and that they are not intersecting at the moment.”
            “You can give up so easily?”
            I pulled her to me with greater strength than I’d intended and crushed her to my chest.  I felt her pliant warmth against muscles and bone that strained against my garments.  I sought her lips’ welcoming embrace and felt powerful when I held her.  I willed Fiora to feel my confidence, wanted her to know that we were destined for each other.
            I heard Signora Moretti’s strident voice slice through the peaceful night.  She wanted Fiora to join them at the dinner table and they had it seemed, a guest.  Signore Claudio Monteverdi had been invited to join their evening meal.  He was already a composer of some note and my heart was paralyzed with the fear that he would be able to provide the future for my Fiora that I had envisioned offering her.  I cursed my circumstances and railed against God who had gifted me with music my greatest joy and then my greatest torment.  
            “Tell me that you won’t engage with him.  We belong together.”
            “My patrons expect me to treat him with the honor and dignity that his station deserves.”
            “Fine, fine, wash his feet if you will, but don’t give him any hope. Promise me.”
            “I have to go my love.  Remember that I love you.”
            I watched her slender form gracefully intersect the darkness as though it was water that parted in deference to her beauty.  I stood in the night shadows long after Fiora had left me.  I watched the candlelight’s shadows creating patterns on the walls.  I waited for her to return to me.  I vowed to do whatever was necessary so that we could be together.  And I learned to hate Signore Monteverdi, for he was at her side that night and I was not.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fame's Seduction - Power's Control

The courtyard of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi...© by leo1383
Lorenzo di Medici led us to the magnificent Cappella dei Magi, one of the crowning jewels of the palace.  For a moment I lost even the image of Fiora’s eyes.  I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the frescoes painted by Benozzo Gozzoli, one of the most gifted 'equine' Medieval painters, (and disciple of the famous Florentine painter of angels, Fra Angelico).  I began to understand how wealth and power could seduce a man.
            “I should like to have you write a Motet for my niece’s wedding. You may remember the young woman who sang for you last night.”
            My mind returned to the young woman with a protruding nose and mediocre voice at best.
            “Yes, very accomplished,” I managed.
            “We would like to cultivate her voice. It is an accomplishment when used in the right setting.  I think that you will be an admirable composer for her talent.”
            “I am honored, naturally.  And I am at your service.  May I suggest another talented singer with whom we can work?  Fiora di Moretti.  You heard her sing last night.”
            “Yes, a remarkable voice to be sure.  I should like to consider that. But this commission will feature my niece.”
            “Isn’t she the bride?”
            “Would it not be preferable for her to enjoy her wedding feast and to sing for another ceremony?”
            “I am a family man and given to indulgence.  This is her request and a small one. She wants to present it as a gift to her husband.  Romantic notion isn’t it?”
            Cesco’s words wrapped through my head.  I hadn’t even begun to ponder how I was now able to hear him.  I’d assumed that we were so well acquainted that I could imagine every word that he would utter.  But that was not the case.  His conversation resided in my head.  I’d only to look into his intense eyes to verify the messages that he sent me.