The Prodigal Son

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The Prodigal Son by Benjamin Britten

We went to see the opera of The Prodigal Son last night. It was amazing. It was in the First Congregational Church in downtown Los Angeles which is a spectacular church inside and out. The sound moved through the huge sculptural space like God speaking.

I’d forgotten part of that story. I remembered that the one son went on walkabout (in Kathmandu and later in New Zealand and then Australia) while the remaining son watched out for everybody and went to graduate school in San Francisco, but I’d forgotten the part where the son on walkabout is given his “portion,” which one assumes was his share of the family farm. That works more effectively when there is a family farm to divide up. But he gets his share and spends it on gambling and hookers and when he runs out and he’s going to have to get a job he comes running home to daddy.

Daddy’s so excited to see the wayward son (who has been smoking weed in Australia and New Zealand to say nothing of Goa and Kathmandu, to say nothing of Amsterdam) that Daddy goes to Vons and buys a whole turkey and a several boxes of stuffing so the son can have his own large bowl of stuffing and they all sit down to dinner.

But in the story, the older son who’s been hard at work on that Masters is resentful of the celebration for the younger son. The older son has also been having a good time (how bad can it be living on the Peninsula in SF and going to all those SF parties? With all those LGBT folks and you know the best parties are the Black parties and the queer parties. Which brings up the question of Black queer parties which are crazy awesome.) So the older son has been having a good time but is still –in the story—not in real life, resentful of the younger son’s party and wants a party of his own which can be all about him.
In the opera, the son was a bit of a long haired fellow with a great voice; all the singing was tremendous and we were about two feet from James Conlon which gave me a shiver of delight, I could have reached out and touched genius or even had genius rub against my shirt sleeves and it would rub off on me, no doubt. Just being in the same room as genius has an astonishing effect on me.

It was quite a day, finals and then I met Mark at a sushi bar downtown that we like and had quite a bit of sake and plum wine and some sushi too. And we walked around Little Tokyo a bit and then went by a loft party for a bit and then to the opera. We couldn’t stay late because I had a 15 mile to do this morning. I actually ran 14.2. It was raining hard and I was ridiculously cold and wet and my music had stopped and I wanted to be home. I sang during the last mile to cheer myself. I noticed our neighbors not coming out to listen. They missed the best parts. Rain and me singing, “Go the whole world,” at the top of my voice.

Published in: on December 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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