Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 32: Nessun Dorma

When I was in Tuscany, I visited a pretty city called Lucca. And right before I had to catch my train out of there, I stumbled upon this tiny shop called Puccini Memories (Lucca was Puccini’s birthplace). It was so charming! Opera was playing on the store speakers, and everywhere you looked there were vintage postcards and posters from Puccini’s many operas, as well as records, cd's and leather-bound volumes of musical arrangements.

The clerk tried to sell me the poster of La Bohème that I had been staring at for five minutes, when I suddenly noticed him holding an 8x10 painting of Puccini himself. I asked him to look at it, which he obliged, but muttered how much more attractive the poster would be in my home. I shook my head and told him, “No. I want Puccini.” He wound up selling it to me for half price because he said the print had been sitting in the shop window and was faded from the sun. I liked it better that way.

Now why, you ask, would I want a discolored print of a pompous looking man wearing a top hat and overcoat with a cigarette dangling from his mustached lips? Good question. I’m not quite sure either. Maybe it was the drama of Nessun Dorma playing at that exact moment, but there was something in the way he seemed to be looking at me. Something secretive and affirmatively reassuring.

When I returned back home to Canada, I placed the painting on the bookshelf in my living room so that I can see it from the sofa. My friends and family have all commented on how he’s kind of creepy looking and have told me to get rid of it. But I must say, whenever my mind is worrying or upset, I look up from the sofa, catch his eye and it’s almost as if he says:“Basta! Enough, now.” And I do stop. It’s so silly, I know, but completely effective.

Who knew Puccini could calm me down without a single note of his lovely, lovely music?

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