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Monday, April 16, 2012

O for my Opera

My name is uber strange. I grew up knowing it was an opera. What I found out much more recently via Facebook is that not only is it used for males and females but also as a first and last name. Go figure.

Never the less the opera is fascinating. I had a chance to see the local Sacramento opera company perform it years ago. It was subtitled but still very good.

I love interacting with people online having this name. "Were your parents opera buffs" "Are you Italian?" they ask. No, no, no, far from either in fact.

My mother says she just met a girl who had a very bubbly personality and this name so she gave it to me.

I do not think you have to be an opera buff to appreciate the drama, the passion of the story and the performance.

Tosca the character is a young woman in love. Her lover is arrested and threatened with execution. Desperate to do whatever she can she goes to plead for his life.

She meets an official who suggests an indecent proposal to release her beloved. Agony or disgust crosses the stars face but she accepts the offer. Not one to waste time the official begins to take her into his arms there in his office.

The star grabs (a hidden dagger), a handy letter opener, a nail file perhaps. With it she stabs the official and he dies. It is her impression that he has issued the order to release her beloved.

The death was scheduled to be by firing squad. The official had indicated that he would need to save face. 

It was her understanding that the execution could not be canceled but the guns would have fake bullets. Her lover would then survive and they could run away together.

She goes away happily thinking soon things will be all right with the world again. The next day she attends what she assumes will be the mock execution. Sadly it goes off as originally planned and her lover is killed. 

Heart broken the star refuses to live and perishes along with him.

Ah the drama of the stage!

As a teen I visited New York city with my Michigan choir class.
We saw Phantom and My Secret Garden there in the large opulent opera houses. We had nose bleed seats but who should care of such a thing for a first visit?

Back here in Sacramento at Johnson high school main campus I had a teacher Ms. Deathridge who had been an opera singer and performed in Tosca.

She was the only teacher to get my name right the first time as classes started my senior year.
She had a voice on her. She could sing over the band who shared our wing of the school.



  1. Thanks for this post, Tosca. Aida was the first opera I ever saw and the performance was the first televised broadcast of an opera. It was the opening night at the Royal Opera House in London and it was televised simultaneously in the UK and France. I remember getting goosebumps and my eyes filling with tears as the lights dimmed and the overture began. Last year I ordered a DVD of a performance of Aida at the Met. One Friday night, I sat watching it alone and wept all over again. Need I say opera has a profound effect on me?

    1. Ah music and drama. It takes us where it will. I have Les Miserables on CD. These things are so classic I almost forget they are so great you know? Social media is starting to encroach on the theater. I can understand it and still wonder what might get lost. You cannot tweet a crescendo. sigh

  2. How cool to have a history with your name. And you portrayed it in your blog with alot of character. You sound like you could also be a playwriter.

    1. Aww thank you. I don't know what I am supposed to grow up and be yet. Play writer seems a nice addition. I came up with the inspiration for a teen skit with a deaf character.

      My daughter and I performed it at a talent show. Maybe I will share that on S day in the alphabet challenge. Nice to have you stop by.