Operatic Opulence

The music enveloped me, lifted me, stirred my passion to offer my own gift of poetry back to the spinning world. Last week I was privileged to hear two great pianists play an entire Liszt concert at the Diana Wortham Theatre, a breathtaking evening to benefit the Mission Foundation Women’s Night Out, an organization that enables women without health insurance to receive cancer-screening mammograms. This 3rd Annual World Masterwork Series featured John Cobb and Christopher Tavernier in a rare two-piano performance called A Night at the Opera. As during meditation, my thinking surrendered to something much larger, to a Source that called and took me to transcendance. For two hours, no smallness could be contemplated.

I can’t say it better than the program notes: The journey begins as Liszt creates the dreams of floating, falling and sweet intoxication…… This first set included Transcendental Etudes No 1 and 4, Widmung (Dedication) – Song by Robert Schumann, Liebesträume (Dreams of Love) and the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 for Two Pianos, as well as my favorites of the evening, “Un Sospiro,” (the third of the Liszt Etudes) and Consolation No. 3 in D Flat. Then Liszt leads us into the realm of the two greatest opera fantasies for two pianos ever created: Reminiscences of Don Juan from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Reminiscences of Norma by Bellini.

Though the stories in operatic fantasies are condensed, the emotions are intact in Liszt’s compositions. Adding to the passion for the audience, visuals were projected onto a suspended screen to present elements of the stories. Another marvelous sensory bonus was a large screen over each piano, showing the pianist’s dancing hands from above!

Through his teacher, the international performer and recording artist John Cobb, young Christopher Tavernier is a direct musical lineage descendant of Ludwig van Beethoven. Cobb studied with Claudio Arrau, whose teacher was a pupil of Franz Liszt. Franz Liszt was a student of Carl Czerny, who was a pupil of Beethoven. Together, Cobb and Tavernier preserve the musical lineage in breathtaking performances such as the one right here at the Diana Wortham last week.

Their music urged me to recommit to being a channel, to give over and allow art with its magnificent potential to flow through my frail form, to rededicate myself to be a vessel for the gifts that come through me. Music filled my body, as it has since I was a child hiding beneath my father’s Steinway when he came home at night to transform from businessman to artist. The powerful music of this rare evening asks me once again to give back, reminds me once again, to step to my highest purpose as a poet.

Leave a Reply