12/16/08

God Given

On January 21st, 1941, Greek and British soldiers were involved in a desperate counteroffensive to keep Mussolini from occupying Greece. The struggle was taking place near Thessaloniki but in Athens, life still went on. There was an opera to be heard – Boccaccio.

Waiting in the wings to make her professional debut was a nineteen year old girl named Sophia. Her role as Beatrice was only a minor one but she was thrilled to be part of it all. She hoped she wouldn’t get stage-fright again. There were so many people. Slightly overweight and wearing extremely large glasses, she was quite a contrast to the glamorous sopranos giggling behind her.

Nafsika Galanou and Zozo Remoundou were the stars. And they weren’t very nice. Shortly before it was time for Sophia to take the stage, the two began to whisper. Not quite loud enough for Sophia to understand what was being said, but she knew they were talking about her. When she spun around to look, they stopped and pursed their lips. When she turned away, they laughed.

Sophia tried to ignore them and poked her head around the curtain to look at the audience. A mistake. She felt dizzy. Her fear was coming back. She’d never be able to sing with all those people staring down on her. The two pairs of jealous eyes to stage-right would only harass her.

And then the advice of her friend Galatea came back to her. “Just blur it out,” she would say, “pretend you’re the only one out there. Make it your own world.”

And that’s what she did. She blurred it out. Sophia, better known to the world as Maria Callas, removed her glasses and stepped out onto the stage, her severe myopia preventing her from seeing anything but shapes beyond her nose.

4 comments:

Eliza Knight said...

Wonderful post!!! Amazing what "blurring it out" can do for a person!

Candice said...

Love it!!

cyurkanin said...

Hey you, get back to work! Thanks, Candice.

cyurkanin said...

Thanks Eliza, not quite blind past her nose but she couldn't even see the conductor without glasses.