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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gift of the Magi

Last weekend we went to see the opera "Gift of the Magi" ( by composer David Conte)

I loved the orchestration. It was lush and it almost had lyrics of its own. The vocal parts didn't move me, I like a melody.  I guess I'm rather pedestrian that way.  What really knocked my socks off, though, was the plot.

WTF, you ask.   The plot?  Like, didn't you already know the story?  It's O'Henry for Pete's sake.  It's a classic.

Yes.  I knew the plot.  My mother told us the story when we were kids, and I've read it as an adult.  My mother always emphasized how the point of the story was that they had a love so great that they would sell their most precious items to give each other a Christmas gift.  She was all about the sacrifice for love.

I'm not completely sure if it was her retelling, or just how I understood it as a child, but I hated the story.  I mean, really hated it.  Della and James are spendthrifts with a communication problem.  If they had just talked about it they could have avoided the whole mess.  Also, I was fine with Della selling her hair.  It was a renewable resource.  Any woman who thinks her hair, or any other physical feature, is her most prized possession is going to be in a world of hurt someday anyway.  Selling a family heirloom was a shame.  Spending the proceeds on frivolous things like combs and a chain was just stupid.  I've been poor.  I've been hungry.  Believe me there are better things to spend your money on.

However, in this show I walked away understanding that the point of the story wasn't that they sold their most prized possessions for love.  It wasn't about the sacrifice.

The point of the story was that they forgave each other for being idiots.

That, my friends, is the secret to true love.

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