Some might have said it was an unlucky end to her illustrious career. A grand dame of the Bel Canto repertoire forced to exit the international stage prematurely for health reasons. But she knew, if anything, that the situation was quite the reverse. She’d enjoyed her many years in the spotlight and now it was time to help raise the next generation of singers.
Standing stage centre in the English country garden turned temporarily into a private outdoor concert venue, the diva’s porcelain features formed a sad smile in preparation to sing the first note of the last song of her last public performance.
The moment choked her a little, as she knew it would, but gathering her wits about her she turned her head in a practiced fashion to the poised accompanist and nodded for the intro of the “Vilja-Lied” from Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” to begin.
For a moment the sparkling soprano closed her eyes, the vision of a clutch of ardent fans dabbing at their tear-filled adoring eyes almost more than she could bear. They’d followed her around for years ~ to radio broadcasts; symphony concerts; opera ~ and with the close of this exclusive and intimate gathering she would see them no more.
The anticipation of her final public rendering of a beautiful aria for which she’d become famous was palpable and to her, indeed, almost overwhelming. As the diva awaited her final opening note she inhaled deeply of the fragrant red roses that festooned the beautiful garden ~ in the vast flower beds, in voluminous garden urn arrangements strategically placed ~ and that matched the signature colour of her gown.
Scarlett, her fans called her. Early in her career, Scarlett the Starlet. She exhaled a sigh of resignation and caught a hint of peppermint from plants that wove their refreshing magic wild around the beds.
She took another deep breath and opened her mouth to sing.
Nothing. No sound. Her throat seemingly coated in gravel. She spluttered; tried to recoup. It was no use.
Devastated, the diva raised a hand to silence her accompanist and reached for her water glass.
Now a feeling of desperation washed over her. The audience could see it and began to murmur.
A young man in the front row rushed the stage with a water bottle, unopened. He twisted the cap and offered it to the adored. The thirsty soprano glided toward him and gladly accepted his kindness. She placed her ruby lips around the mouth of the bottle and drank while the throng of concerned onlookers waited.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“Keep it,” he responded, and smiled.
She smiled in return and in a moment of spontaneity offered him her hand and invited him up the few steps and onto the stage so she might sing of forbidden love to him directly.
To rousing applause the diva signalled once again for the piano intro to begin and, beaming brightly in the rays of the setting sun, serenaded the one who had turned the unluckiest moment of all into a golden moment of immortality.
Thanks to Kellie Elmore for another great Free Write Friday challenge.
Word Bank – Use one or all. Whatever inspires you.
Red – Mint – Gravel – Sing – Unlucky
Thanks for visiting …
©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014