Georges Bizet

I met my husband in 1978, not surprisingly, the year we were married. He was different from anyone I’d ever known. From Latvia, culturally educated, a man who appreciated art and music – especially opera. I listened to my first classical music that wasn’t at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, high in the bleachers while Leonard Bernstein played Peter and the Wolf. I heard real music.

I have a favorite aria that I first heard sung by Robert Merrill and Juse Bjorling. My husband was playing this and I asked him what it was. I’m not sure if he was thinking in Latvian at the moment but it came out something like fishing. He looked at the iPod and told me it was Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers.

Robert Merrill and Juse Bjorling

I’ve never heard a more beautiful duet in my life. I learned that the opera was not popular when it was first debuted. I’m amazed! The music is so beautiful you’re carried away to the life of the Pearl Fisher. This is the music that makes me want to sing again.

I often became annoyed with my husband  because he wouldn’t sit and listen to the music, he had to always be tweaking the sound. That’s what engineers do – they tweak and tweak and tweak. It frankly drove me a teeny bit nuts.

After many years and one son later, we happened to turn on PBS in Detroit and watched The Three Tenors. That was 1992. Honestly I didn’t want the concert to end. Everything was beautiful and to see my two favorite singers, Domingo and Pavarotti together was a dream. I hadn’t seen Carreras before. I had already informed my husband that if Placido were to knock at the door and ask me to come with him, I would go. In a heartbeat. Immediately. Of course, he laughed.

Then in 1994,  Placido Domingo came to Detroit to the Masonic Temple. It was June 26 and it was the most beautiful concert in a horrible forum. The seats were so close together you had to sit sideways to fit your knees in. We didn’t care. He was wonderful and even though the acoustics weren’t that great, he overcame them. It was only when driving home and noticing all the slow traffic heading west on Jefferson that I noticed my tires were slipping. The dreaded arrival of the fish flies had begun. We got those every year at the end of June. Thousands of them, covering up gas pumps and ATMs and worse, roads. When they died, they became slime. Sigh. It didn’t really spoil my evening though. I managed to keep control of the Jeep.

Now, after my husband is gone, I listen to his music. And I find myself laughing. I know that where ever he is, he’s listening along with me. My surround sound system through the TV isn’t working for the iPod. I guess I need a new RCA cable …… so I have my iPod plugged into my Bose iPod dock. It’s fine. It’s just nothing like what it sounds on the surround sound system. And I’m thinking about buying some components ……. I think he would appreciate that if I did. I want full, rich sound.

I caught myself telling our son “it sounds like it’s coming from behind a veil.” And then we both laughed. That was his Dad over and over. We had to get that sound OUT from under that veil. I hope I do soon.

You can listen to that duet here.


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