Let me tell you about The Sister. That girl was born with a soft palate the size of Texas and lungs that could out-whip the Bible belt. That Sister o' mine popped into this world knowing all the words, in all the languages, to all the operas. All of them. Seriously. How many kindergartners do you know that can sing an aria from The Marriage of Figaro? That was my sister. We called her Opree.
One time, when little Opree was just 4, she was practicing. She had a goblet with pretend wine. She was presenting something atop her make-shift stage that doubled as a kiddie table. I was in the other room begging for her to shut-the-hell-up so as I could listen to Erasure. Or whatever I was into back then. As little Opree was howling away (with correct pitch and color and whatnot), she slipped and fell. On that fake goblet of wine. The goblet, however, was not fake and it busted. Slashed open her cheek.
We went to the emergency room.
We took many trips to the emergency room with Opree. And more often than not, she was just-a-singin' away whence the current accident occurred.
After high school graduation, Opree was shipped off to a place called Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. We cried. We would miss her. But wow would the house be quiet!
Opree did well in school. She sang many a solo in the chapels of Princeton University. I was able to witness one of them. It was a Wonder and I Wander ditty, arranged for Mezzo and giant organ. After four years of hard work, Opree received a Bachelor's Degree in Opera Performance and Pedagogy. She currently teaches young budding musicians like herself to sing it classically.
Just this weekend, Opree performed a solo in the Duruflé Requiem. I'm here to say it was one of the finest performances of her lifetime. At least to me anyway. And as I watched her sing, as I felt her love for music and shed a tear here and there for the beauty she presented, I remembered, rather vividly how much hell I gave her growing up.
I'm so very sorry. (I'm also sorry about all those commas in the previous paragraph.)
Opree's solo was the Pie Jesu segment of Duruflé's Requiem. This particular offering of the Pie Jesu is spectacular for it is a duet for a richly flavored Mezzo and the royal extravagance of a cello. Opree's voice was made for cello.
The cellist that Opree dueled with this last weekend was phenomenal. I don't know how to describe it. And I don't know where they found this cellist. Okay, so I know she came from the Utah Symphony, but before then, I don't know where she came from. Anyway, this cellist and Opree had something goin'. It was almost inappropriate to watch. Someone should get them a room some time.
In spite of all those wise-cracks, I sincerely wish I could hear it again.
After this melt-like-buttah performance, I rushed home, ready to present to my rabid readers a recording similar to that of this weekend. And wouldn't you know - I couldn't find one?! Not a one. Youtube is a bust fer finding anything Duruflé. The cellists were uninvolved or the Mezzo was warbley.
Warbley Mezzos are a mess.
Now, dear friends, I challenge you to find a recording of Duruflé's Requiem and listen start to finish. It's my second favorite Requiem. (Fauré's Requiem is number one just in case you were wondering what the Duruflé was second to. And did you notice that BOTH of my favorite Requiems are from FRENCH COMPOSERS! What are the odds?)