I was not obsessed. True, I studied music beyond all sensibility and went to Europe to audition multiple times, but I was not obsessed. I never felt that I had to do this. I got married at 22 to the first person that asked me, so it was clearly not an obsession.
Other people regretted that I didn't have a career as a singer, but I didn't. I tried, but only halfheartedly. It was much too hard. If I was so wonderful, why didn't people in the know see it? What if I'm just not that great? I think I auditioned--a process that I loathe--just so I could tell people I had.
People who are obsessed study scores all day and stay by their piano a lot. I watched a lot of TV. Obsession is what carries you to triumph. I'm sure there are people who succeed and are not obsessed, but I am equally sure that they are the minority. Obsession can be a gift.
Cecilia Bartoli was my first musical obsession. I was completely blind-sided. I listened to her for hours on end, driving everyone completely mad. I've written about that period before and won't repeat it here.
I have always been intensely aware that she is she and I am I. She is the queen of music and I am no one at all. How should I address her? Cecilia? Too familiar. Ma'am? Illogical if I am 25 years older and she is not actually the Queen. Ms Bartoli? Maybe. Signora Bartoli? Would this make her feel old? Dear--the name inside my head? Certainly not! What does that leave? The situation is just too complicated. Hey? I am not above this form of address.
So I stand there like an idiot, and she goes on to the next person. Or becomes upset. Or angry. Or insulted. Or frustrated. It would be good if I thought of anything else to say, but I don't. I have a feeling that autograph lines are not the milieu for me.
Cecilia is a genius. I have a feeling her gifts suit one another. She won the "Non piu mesta" contest on YouTube, as is only suitable. Cecilia clearly is obsessed with music and consumes it with great intensity.
My obsession with her was at its most benign between Julius Caesar and Semele. I had officially given up my desire to meet her, and found Proibita spectacular but cold. And besides, I had become immersed in my new obsession--this blog.
Yes, this is my second musical obsession. Blogging is the perfect medium for the proto-senile person such as myself with an attention span of 20 seconds.
I do find that obsession number one interferes with the proper functioning of obsession number two. And obsession number two definitely interferes with obsession number one. Now that I know her other fans are watching, how can I even consider getting into the autograph line again? I am blogging as myself, possibly a mistake, but it's too late now.
I tried not writing about CB at all, but cannot even consider that with Maria coming out. From what I hear, she appears to have topped herself. Cecilia is never aiming for other people's performances, a fact that vastly raises her in my esteem. She goes with her idiosyncrasies and is pleased to be herself, her very original and fascinating self. She trusts her own instincts and puts it out there. I respect and love her very much.
Pictures: Dot obsession by Yayoi Kusama, Obsession II by John Kimber
I'm on Radio 3 In Tune today
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