Saturday, May 29, 2010


I'm in Dubbo. Dinner was at the Bowling Club, which we were assured was unbeatable. David Lynch was the director. There was a constant queue of thirteen at the food counter. I counted them, always thirteen, though whenever my eyes returned to recount, the faces had changed. But always thirteen. A silent giant flat screen was playing the football. Manly, aka Sea Eagles, kept getting more points, but only scored when I was looking at the faces in the queue.

We had arrived just as the thunderstorms cleared and the setting sun lit up a wet Wellington Valley with a emerald green sheen. The Great Divide is finally behind us and from now on it will be flat until we get to the Flinders Ranges in a few days.

Lilli Passikivi wore emerald last night and now I'm back in the motel, back in the 60's, I'm wondering what she's wearing tonight. Perhaps Mr Lynch could just edit me into the Concert Hall for this hour. I want more Lilli. We sat in our usual seats last night and the major problem was not that I didn't want to be seated there, I did, but I also wanted to be at her feet again, like the Wednesday before. I wanted both at once. I hate being in one place at a time.

Still, the magic of the immediacy, her aura, her movements, and her voice, as I heard it down there, was a perfect memory plate to overlay what was an even more amazing performance. It was more than the change in vocal and visual perspective, I think. The Der Abschied came from another place. The orchestra came through her body, as gently and slowly she became a masque for Gustav's thoughts. The fluid curve of the spine, arms with the grace of a dancer, fingers opening and closing, a tilt, a lean, the neck, the eyes, a total reflection of what 80 or so instruments were playing. And out of all this came her voice.

Distance brought a new perspective - orchestral balance was good, dynamics more subtle, and her gorgeous voice as it now reached me was in full bloom, a slow warm vibrato beneath the shimmer. Imagine a rose bud in that exciting state of early opening, something wonderful about to be, and then see the rose in its glory, open, perfumed, at its zenith. An emerald rose. Petals about to fall.

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