And who am I to judge — Let no one sleep
I love music. My earliest memories of my parents revolve around music. Singing after home worship on a Sunday evening. Those old hymns. The one my mother would not play because I always started crying. It was called –
“Across the water, shining and rejoicing, there are loved ones waiting, waiting for me.” (Thank you, Google Translate.)
Then the “making music” moments. Dad on the violin, Mom on the piano or piano accordion, brother on the guitar. As I got older, I took over the piano a bit. I enjoyed these moments at home but not if we went to play at a neighbor’s house, and the floor was cleared for the adults to dance! I was a prime little snob.
Music wove its way through my entire life
Oh, the stories I can tell! But this story is not about the circuitous road the classics traveled in my existence. This story is about that hacked-to-death song called “Nessun dorma,” which shot to fame when Luciano Pavarotti sang it at the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final in Rome.
“Nessun dorma” achieved pop status after Luciano Pavarotti’s 1972 recording of it was used as the theme song of BBC television’s coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. … Pavarotti notably sang the aria during the first Three Tenors concert on the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final in Rome. Nessun dorma — Wikipedia
I love the opera. I love the symphony. I love piano concertos, and I even love some jazz — the smooth, slow nightclub kind of stuff. And don’t forget the musical theatre. Bring on the “Phantom of the Opera!” And ballet, those are real gymnasts, athletes, and artists rolled into one.
Nowadays, it is a significant event to attend any of these. Aging will do that — the timing, the drive, and now with Covid-19, the proximity of others.
But I have a computer, and thus, I have the world at my fingertips. It’s a smorgasbord plus, I have access to a new delight.
All around the world, America’s Got Talent has sprouted offshoots. Spin-offs abound from Greece to Romania, far-off China and Korea, and over the pond, to Britain. I’ve been exposed to the most outstanding artists lurking in plain sight in an ordinary population, without leaving my comfy back-supported office chair. And no-one jostling my armrest for space or clearing their throats.
And I’ve feasted. But I openly admit to being partial to the singers. From young to old, homeless to well-off and employed, they’ve entertained and amazed me.
Then came the tadpoles in my fountain.
All the love and appreciation I’ve had for that gorgeous song are gone. My heart goes out to Simon Cowell and Co. I’m only subjected to the good renderings; imagine all the bad ones they must hear that do not make it onto YouTube.
So, when a competitor trots out there, nervously introduce themselves, and I recognize those opening bars of orchestral music, I change the channel.
“Not again,” I sigh, “not again! I don’t care whether it’s a good rendition. I don’t care how hard they had to work to get to this point. I don’t care how important it is in their lives to make it on AGT. Couldn’t they please please have chosen another song?”
On a rare shopping trip (yes, I’m self-quarantining with a vengeance, I only surface to the outside world if it’s a must), I pass some beggars on the road.
I used to give a little bit here and a little bit there, trying to spread the amount I’d decided on for the day. I would run out of small bills. I would start wondering if they really are homeless and hungry or merely panhandling as a way of life. (My husband’s take on it, at which point I always remind him that most American families are one paycheck away from being homeless. And in the present climate, it’s a horrible reality.)
So, after running out of smaller bills a few times, I made a decision. I will pick one person and make a sizeable donation. And I usually choose a woman. Sorry, not sorry. There’s something incredibly sad about seeing someone of my own sex reduced to sitting on the ground, holding up a piece of cardboard with wonky lettering, “cold, homeless, hungry.”
How did it come to this? What happened in their past, so they became a statistic on the roadside?
And who am I to judge? There but for the Grace of God, go I.
It’s not a “Nessun dorma” to ignore and move on. Our homeless need help, love, understanding.
I don’t have answers, only questions. People much wiser than I are there to find the answer and resolutions and implement them.
As for “Nessun dorma” and AGT? Here too, who am I to judge why they picked that song.
But still grateful, I do not need to listen unless I want to.