It’s almost Christmas! Hanukkah ended the other night, so it’s time to put away the menorah and get out the votive candles.
Last night, my escort for the evening was in the mood for some high culture. So we went to Carnegie Hall to hear Handel’s “Messiah,” performed by the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra. Of course we were sitting in a First Tier Box where only the elite sit, compliments of the management. They are too kind.
For the occasion, and since it was all about religion, I chose a classic Donna Karan black dress that was a miracle of simplicity—black, with a low square neckline, long tight sleeves, and a flowing skirt that revealed a hint of satin-shod foot. Many admiring glances were shot in my direction.
Imagine my outrage, then, as the chorus trooped out onto the stage—all of the females wearing non-designer copy versions of MY DRESS! Quel horror! Why wasn’t I informed? Thinking quickly, I drew my magenta cashmere shawl around my shoulders, pretending to have a slight chill.
Then, as the orchestra tuned up, I looked over to the next box and saw…
President Bill Clinton. And Senator Hillary.
Dahlings, your faithful correspondent was struck dumb (which takes some doing). The man is simply magnificent in person, sex appeal personified. He wore a beautifully tailored suit with a bright red tie (why do politicians wear red ties even after they leave office?). The estimable Hillary was nicely turned out in an elaborately embroidered multicolored long jacket. Even the Secret Service men looked toothsome.
A memory flashed in my mind: six years ago, Mama informed me that a portrait painter in their building was going to be painting President Clinton. Visions of somehow trapping myself in the elevator with Bill filled my brain. I said something on the telephone of that nature to Mama, who snapped, “He’s not getting any blowjobs here!” (Mama can be rather outspoken at times.)
Unfortunately, my very young nephew was visiting at the time, and I gather hearing that exchange was rather traumatic for him. I think “Grandmama” and “blowjob” had never been linked in his innocent brain prior to that.
Back to Carnegie Hall: our eyes locked, and we exchanged meaningful smiles. Oh, those blue eyes, almost as blue as my own! That thick mane of white hair. Those powerful hands…More than anything, I wanted to reach across the box and squeeze his thigh. However, the Secret Service was between us.
And perhaps he remembered that I had caused Dick Cheney’s first heart attack. (Mentioned in a post several months earlier, faithful readers shall recall.) I shuddered to think that President Clinton might think me Republican. So near, and yet so far…
As for “The Messiah,” the music was lovely, but the lyrics seemed a trifle silly. They reminded me of opera supertitles, with the same phrases repeated over and over again. Don’t they know we get “He shall feed his flock like a sheperd” the first time?
I have never understood why works such as this (and most operas) don’t get updated by modern songwriters , such as Jerry Herman. He could have easily trimmed the “Messiah” by forty-five minutes to an hour.
To moi, the story didn’t quite hang together, although the four solo singers all had beautiful voices. I am no expert on religion of any kind. Far from it. It gives me a headache when I have to think about Deep Things. Act One was about Him getting born, Act Two was utterly indecipherable, even with the lyrics in the program. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach peace”? What on earth does that mean? Do they get pedicures?
And we all had to stand up for the Hallelujah Chorus, which was belted out quite properly. I managed to sneak another look at the President, but he was gazing at the stage.
The thought crossed my mind to sneak into his box during the Chorus, but a warning look from a Secret Security man checked me. (They can read your minds, dahlings, I swear!)
When the Hallelujah Chorus was over, a significant portion of the audience left, although we still had another three hours to go. My escort asked me in bewilderment, “Why did Handel put the money shot in the second act?” I shushed him.
Act Three, to be honest, was a bit of a yawn. I believe that it was about the Rapture or whatever some people call it. If indeed all of the dead are raised, I certainly hope I do not have to meet Richard Nixon. And who knew it could take half an hour to sing the word “Amen”?
When it was all over and we stood to applaud, I exchanged another long, meaningful look with President Clinton. And then he and Hillary were swept away, and the Secret Service made the rest of us all leave from the other side of the building.
Ah, another time, another place…and I might have caused his first heart attack. A girl can dream, can’t she? Sigh…
Bucky and I wish all of you dahlings out there a very Merry Christmas, with goodwill toward all!
Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog