Tag Archives: opera

variations on hot!

Variations on hot!

Right now, in my home–with a/c–it’s 82 degrees. Yes, I know the A frame looked “cool” when I bought it but it was November, after all. Although science claims heat rises, I swear the cool air in my house rises to the top.

I am sitting here in my undies; my dogs and cats don’t mind. My partner is at work. She’s hot (but that’s another story). I have a rotating fan blowing on me, the ceiling fan on high, and still it is humid. Much worse outside, though! The local news says the heat index is in the 100 – teens, so suddenly 82 doesn’t sound so hot by comparison.

“Feeling an uncomfortable sensation of heat” ~ Thus saith the Oxford American Dictionary. That’s one kind of hot, the kind people usually mean when they say the word.

Sunday in downtown Cincinnati was hot. I was at Fountain Square in the afternoon. It was the annual Pride Day and Festival. LGBT people of all ages and persuasions were strolling the square, hot in their own unique ways. Young lesbian couples, rainbow capes and hair. Drag queens. Clean cut guys, holding hands. Some on the square were not too hot to enter a dance contest.

Hot: “good-looking, sexy, attractive.”

I was just feeling kind of old, tired after a long morning and walking half a mile to the square. Friends and I had been relieved to find chairs in the shade across the street from the Westin and in front of the Human Rights Campaign Fund booth. I had been hot once, wild and energetic in my 20s and 30s in those early years of coming out. Now I’m just her-storic.

Hot: “passionately enthusiastic.” I think of opera—the music and my love for it. My friend Vic once said, “You act like you discovered opera!” I replied, “I did . . . for me!” So much that I took myself to NYC for a Metropolitan Opera Trio—three operas in three days. When I visited San Francisco, I saw an opera. I subscribed to Opera NEWS, bought CDs, learned hungrily of Handel’s countertenors and Verdi’s baritones. I chased a big name mezzo down the streets of Chicago once to let her know how hot she had just been on stage.

I love Indian food. I like it hot, those spices that give new meaning to food and a new adventure for my taste buds. Hot: “consisting of pungent spices or peppers.” I also get urges for Mexican food. Not to mention Thai. Well, that may be the hottest ethnic food of all. I am not a bland meat and potatoes girl though I was raised that way.

Then there’s the definition “angry, indignant, upset.” I accompanied my partner to her metaphysical church. Afterwards, there was a membership meeting—not any ordinary membership meeting for there was to be a vote to keep or get rid of their spiritual leader. During the proceedings, I felt numb, the spectacle unreal. They voted her out. I was sad since I liked Rev. Doris. Later, I got in touch with the anger I felt. Hot. Yes, I felt hot that so many men complained about the Rev. being “tough.” Had it been a male minister, would they have remarked about their leader’s toughness? I think not. It seemed akin to a witch hunt, and I had a sour taste from being a witness. Something was terribly wrong when a group who believed in choosing either fear or love chose to crucify their spiritual leader. I felt the heat rising as I sensed the love dissolving.

Five definitions of hot . . . . .


opera ethereal & poem 101

Tonight I saw Ainadamar, ‘Fountain of Tears.’ This is a rarely seen contemporary opera. It played straight through with no intermission. The Spanish music and the lighting were incredible! The Fountain refers to the place where Federico Garcia Lorca was slain. It was a heartbreaking story. I loved a repeated reference to making even ‘stones weep.’ Famous soprano Dawn Upshaw sang in Cincinnati for the first time. Although she did a good job, I was more interested in the mezzo Kelley O’Connor. She played Lorca.

I love the mezzo voice! There is something about the depth of the voice. It’s a turn-on to see women dress in men’s clothes, too, even though I have often been called a soft butch myself. Is it some sort of mirror or is it just fantasy dress up and make believe?


we are not our bodies
though sometimes it’s fun to play
with costumes to cover our egos

how that opera was / poem 88

‘Don Carlo’ was excellent as I expected. I find Verdi to be passionate and the tempos in his music exciting. The plot, hey, it’s a bit weird to have the dead Emperor appear at the end. What did it mean? That he took Don Carlo back to the afterlife with him? Or just have a heart to heart talk with him in the shadows of the cloister? The treatment of women is annoying — a view you might expect from a feminist like me. I usually enjoy the mezzo sopranos in their bad girl roles. The one in this opera, Princess Eboli, was good, as usual. I love that lower voice range and the energetic rebellion of a mezzo.


mezzo means middle
yes, it means your voice but it often
shows a woman either rebel or bad

opera: catharsis in the dark? / poem 87

I began my day with no food or even decaf since I was due into my doctor’s office for a fasting blood test. I told him next lifetime I will not have dinky veins. Finding a vein and the first stab is the worst part. His scale, of course, showed me a few pounds heavier than mine at home. Other than these, the visit went well.

I am checking in on a friend’s dog and cat while she and her partner are gone for the weekend. Besides the fact that I had the time and adore animals, I had a nice perk — a pool! So I took an issue of the Advocate, and caught up on some gay news. Lots of hot boy ads but I did learn a thing or two. I hopped in the pool a few times. In, adjusted to the water, splashed around, then out to read and dry until I got hot, then the cycle began anew. How relaxing to have a deck and pool to myself! I’ll do this anytime.

Since I had my aunt’s memorial Thursday, I had to switch my opera ticket to the grand — and more expensive — Saturday night spectacle. Call me grumpy but I hate waiting what seems like forever to get out of the parking lot afterward. I’m going to go early and hunt for some free parking on the street. I love Verdi — he is so dramatic and passionate even if the plots don’t always make much sense. I have long gotten over this part of opera. It’s about the music and the grandiosity and fickleness of human nature. Sort of like watching karma on stage. I am going by myself and that’s okay. When I had to switch nights, I also had to trade up to a better seat. Still, I’m in the gallery so I’ll bring those opera glasses I bought at the Chicago Lyric Opera years ago when I realized how much trouble I’d gone to drive there, get expensive tickets yet still not be able to see Renee Fleming very well. Tonight these glasses will pay off here at Music Hall.


what is it about the drama and pathos?
am I witnessing a microcosm of life
and getting catharsis in the dark?

appreciation ~ poem 52

the tenor stood there frozen,
taking in the applause, accepting, waiting.
it is moments like these that he lives for.

gratitude on a Saturday morning

All week I’d been quite busy. So when I went to bed last night, I looked forward to an extended sleep. I had nothing I had to do until Saturday night.

My bedroom window faces east so I usually can’t sleep in much when the brightness of the sun shines in on me. I awoke at 7:00 a.m. and let the dogs out in the back yard. There was a young deer in the woods across from the creek. Not a doe, but young. It was so quiet and camouflaged, I didn’t realize it was there. Only Mia’s frozen stance and upturned tail called my attention to it. It slowly climbed the steep tree-filled hill. Feeling groggy, I decided it was not really going to be the start of my day yet. I lay on the couch for a morning nap.

It felt great! So when I awoke (again) two hours later, I was refreshed. I fed the animals, made my organic decaf, and shuffled out to the garden bench. This was not an ‘official’ meditation although I could call it a ‘nature meditation.’ I spent time listening. How often do we just sit and listen? It was early enough that the mowers and weed whackers were not yet in action. All I heard were birds and an occasional car. This is one of those retirement moments I had waited for. I am very active with organizations and friends but have learned to make sure I ‘schedule’ days off. It seems ironic but it’s true: I must consciously choose to spend time alone.

I know how fortunate I am. For this day, I am grateful.

Tonight I am taking myself on an artist’s date to the May Festival. I want to hear the Verdi opera the Festival is doing. They will perform “Luisa Miller” in concert. Verdi has always been one of my favorites. So I expect that tonight’s poem will be my response to a wonderful musical evening.