To Live Forever

FireworksThe joy of sharing is never greater than when we are sharing joy itself. But the irony is that even in a crowd, we can find joy in such a personal way that we feel alone with it.

I was three rows back from the stage in the Royal Albert Hall when the man in the huge black gown opened his mouth and began to sing. And in that precise moment, ten thousand doves were released from his lips and each one landed on the shoulders of strangers and whispered in our ears that now we could hear the sounds that come from the very lips of God.

“Nessun dorma.  Nessun dorma.”

None Shall Sleep Tonight.

I did not sleep that night. I could only remember weeping openly in my seat as Pavarotti’s explosive tenor reached the final sustained note of the spectacular aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot.

“Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!”

Vanish O Night! Fall away Stars! Fall away Stars! At sunrise, I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!

I looked around to see if any other grown man was crying like a baby. But the woman beside me was not weeping. I did not know her but despite that fact, she removed her underwear and threw it onto the stage, along with a long-stem red rose.

“I love you! I love you! Tu sei una stella… la mia stella! I love you Luciano!” she screamed. I knew how she felt.

And then it seemed that every woman was removing her under garments and throwing them onto the stage. I hesitated for a moment. No, I would keep my shorts in place.

I had dinner with Pavarotti after the concert. He sat silently with a bandana around his face, fearful of the germs that might reach him from the trembling mortal who was sitting in front of him, nervously picking at his prawn cocktail. Sadly, Pavarotti did not stay beyond the appetizer. How could he? God had only loaned him to us for a moment so that we would know what it means to, “Have a soul.”

Some said that Pavarotti died. The Italian Air Force flew over his grave. The Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival Hall flew black flags in mourning that day.

They were all wrong. He is not dead. Pavarotti lives inside a million souls. I just close my eyes and listen and his voice is there.

I cannot recreate for you the emotion of that night in the Royal Albert Hall. But I can share with you the joy that I still feel inside.

Vincerò!  Vincerò! At sunrise, I shall win! I shall win!

It is quiet now. But the joy of that sound will live inside my soul forever.

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