Monday, May 17, 2010

call me, greenhorn?

Maggie bought me what was the greatest graduation gift of all time: tickets to "Moby-Dick" the opera. That's right, I went to the opera.  It was completely, without a doubt, utterly and truly magnificent.

I had never been to an opera before, but I had read Moby-Dick multiple times (in fact, it's my favorite book of all time).  The writer of the opera did this amazing trick with my brain - he undid all of my ingrained Moby-Dick wires and then put them back together again.  By the end of the show, I was zapped.  The goose-bumps throughout the performance were evidence of this fact.

Most people know the famous first line of the epic novel, "Call me Ishmael."  But Heggie (the opera's composer) called this character "Greenhorn" throughout the opera.  Then, as Greenhorn is being rescued after his ship and Ahab have been destroyed by the white whale, he names himself "Ishmael."  So there's a man who has been searching for himself during the entire opera, going to sea only because it was a "cold November in his soul," and then realizing that he is Ishmael. 

The Biblical allusions are reverberating throughout my soul.  If you don't quite get it, go back and read Genesis.  It will be as if the Bible just threw a whaling harpoon into your nerve system as you quiver with delight.

Thank you Mr. Herman Melville, for reading the Bible to me.

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