Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Things of Beauty


On Friday I attended the Alberta Ballet production “Celebrating Mozart.” This show was particularly special because it involved several artistic companies working together to create something truly transcendent. It was literally 100s of people working together, striving together, and yearning together, to make something bigger than themselves; something as innate to human beings as art. And I’d bet it was hard, and full of hysterical ego maniacal theatrics and fits of obstinacy, but isn't that what creation is all about?

On Friday I attended “Celebrating Mozart” and I left better than when I arrived.

It began with a joyful piece called “Pomp without Circumstance” and like eating dessert first it seemed decadent and filled me with glee. The opening notes of the Marriage of Figaro coupled with the brilliant comic choreography (legs peeking from under curtains) had the audience laughing out loud within seconds. All the nervous energy of real life, and the dark anticipation for the coming “Requiem” performance, melting away over 25 minutes and ending too soon. It was genius. A gift.

The “Requiem” was beyond words. A collaborative piece between the Ballet company, the Richard Eaton Singers (the University Singers), and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, it was haunting and full of challenging symbolism. It was, of course, heartbreaking but it was also something more. It was exactly what art is supposed to be. It was that thing that fills you up when you know you are appreciating something so deeply it’s like a colour inside of you. When people work together to construct a Thing of Beauty, suspending individual ego and vision, and put something inspired into the world, it is magic. To appreciate that magic we need only to open our hearts. Any imperfections don’t matter, a tiny trip, a slightly sour note, all seem benign. What mattered was that so many people came together and allowed themselves to be so vulnerable and so exposed in giving such a gift of themselves. It always strikes me as such an unappreciated form of bravery.

I often wonder what it is like to feel so inspired to create that it is like a thirst inside you, like something is so integral that you must act on it to simply BE who you are. And I have no other word but “brave” when I think of people who live their lives creating. But perhaps there is something to the stories of Muses. The Greeks spoke of Muses, goddesses who were said to inspire greatness in others. Perhaps they do walk among us, everyday people, creating Things of Beauty. And when they do, each time they do, something rings inside those of us who stop to appreciate it and, I believe, that allows us to go into the world and think creatively about the everyday. I believe when artists shine light into dark corners it gives us the strength to solve problems and overcome challenges with ingenuity and imagination. And for this Mom, though I often hunger for more, it usually, simply, inspires me to work hard to raise 2 two little boys into the best men they can be, with strong minds and hearts which can beat for others as well as themselves. And isn't that magic too?

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