Monday, February 11, 2008

small moments of beauty

You know how sometimes life's little moments are so moving for no apparent reason? Tonight I was watching the Grammy awards, and when Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban performed their tribute to Luciano Pavarotti, I was reminded of one of those moments.

It was last fall when we were in Milan. We were strolling around the city center that night, down one of the main passages, where the street vendors were winding down for the night. The artists were packing up their wares and the souvenir -sellers were closing up their stands. But in one corner, an elderly man was still camped out with his portable CD player. From the crackly speakers came the orchestral strains of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" from the opera Turandot. The legendary Luciano Pavarotti is probably responsible for immortalizing this piece, and as the song began, I was reminded that Pavarotti had died just a few weeks earlier.

This elderly man had so clearly been touched by Pavarotti, probably had followed him for his entire career, because as he dug into the core of the aria, his voice began to crack. As the piece crescendoed to its peak at the end, tears streamed down this man's face, and shortly after, mine as well. It was one of those moments where I was so touched by the honest human emotion. I'll never forget.

It's things like that moment that help me keep faith that there is some beauty to be found on Earth. May there be many more in the near future.

Here's a famous performance of Nessun Dorma - Pavarotti and Friends, including Michael Bolton, Bono, Meat Loaf, and the Cranberries. Even when sung by non-opera singers, gives you goosebumps...

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