Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meeting Venus

Flutist Christopher Oracion and soprano Camille Lopez Molina

There are many things I'm grateful for in my life, "In My Life" a la Beatles. One is having decided to consciously immerse myself in generic cultural work--helping in whatever capacity, mainly setting aside riches of time and health for something I love to see with my eyes, listen to with my ears while there's still some clarity in those senses. Somewhere along the way, the heart and the mind, invisible to the world, except through an ECG or a brain scan, combine to make the experience whole. Art and music have a way of making one's life whole and not a hole (ha! poor pun there!).

Two, I've met up close and personal the people who the group ABBA once had a ready song for: "Thank You for the Music."

Three, despite my schedule, the decision continues to enrich my soul, the kind of enrichment that can take me all the way to death's threshold. And I won't be afraid, no, sir, I won't.

The experience of art is always like meeting Venus to crib the title of a movie, kinda based on the Wagner opera Tannhauser and which I thoroughly enjoyed (saw it twice on the wide screen) in the '90s.

When I think of Venus, I think of soprano Camille Lopez Molina, the founding mama of Viva Voce, the group of classically trained singers. The members and more outside it make up the core of a Philippine operatic scene that is slowly being coveted by some parts of Asia that don't have the inborn musicality of Pinoys and Pinays.

I've watched Viva Voce as an ensemble or as soloists, tandems or trios, and I've always left the event venue sometimes in tears but renewed, revived, restored. Better yet, resurrected.

Ma'am Cams, as she's called by her students, once shared something she wrote, and Cams, I wish to claim it as my Tosca "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore" credo for the rest of my mortal days:

"The reward? The reward is the work itself. In the end, all the accolades, the rejections, the praise, the criticisms - all are just part of the road. Sometimes they make the journey easier, sometimes they make it more difficult. You find a way to navigate through them and you move on.

"Then you come to a crossroads and you have to choose which direction to take. What do you really want to do? Where do you really want to go? Only you can decide, because only you know.

"And you end up with people who are going in the same direction. A different journey, but the same direction, and you welcome each one as you get to know them, or you leave them, or they leave you.

"And life goes on. And work goes on. Thank God!"

Thank God, indeed!

P.S. This morning's reflection is made possible through a Joni Mitchell full album, particularly the song "Come In from the Cold."
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