The spirit of Mimi’s flowers

Trying my hand at a still life

Cosi gentile il profumo d’un fiore!
Ma i fior ch’io faccio,
Ahimè! non hanno odore.

corner flowers
a corner of the attic

That gentle perfume of a flower!
But the flowers that I make,
Alas! have no smell.

My grandfather loved the opera and when I was a child he and my grandmother sometimes took me and my sister to see a performance.  It always included the ritual of dressing up and having supper at a fancy restaurant  which turned the whole evening into a grand and elegant event.  I, too, developed a love for the music and the stories.  I was held in the magic of the orchestra warming up, and the anticipation of the curtain rising on beautiful sets that whisked you away into other worlds and long ago times.  Finally, the soaring music and powerful melodic voices would cause my eyes to melt into mist and my heart to launch out of my body and surge through the ceiling. I could see by the ecstatic expression of light emanating from his face that my grandfather was experiencing something similar too.

My grandfather especially loved the exquisite and sentimental arias of Puccini. The tragic La Boheme was one of his favourites. This is an old recording of Callas and Di Stefano singing O Soave Fanciulla.  

Rodolfo, the poet, living with his artist friends in an attic – in Montmartre  of course, meets the ill fated little flower girl, Mimi.  She sells her embroidered creations for a few coins on the streets of Paris during the cold winds of winter!  She knocks on his door and asks him if he would mind lighting her candle that has gone out – and- they fall in love!  No matter how many times I heard it on the records my grandfather played after dinner (instead of watching tv), my sister and I always cried at the finale when Mimi dies of consumption and a distraught Rodolfo calls her name and weeps.  It’s an Italian thing!

Whenever I hear tenors like Bocelli and sopranos like Netrebko today I think of my grandparents and miss them.

46 Comments Add yours

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Well Cybele I’m sure I have no soul – I played the clip but I’ll never appreciate opera or classical music I’m afraid. My grandparents and parents were rooted in less exalted pastimes. But I am a fan of the Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Little Match Girl’ story, which is a little like Mimi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Roy, I have a very eclectic taste in music- I enjoy so much but yes my grandfather on my da’s side was Italian and very cultured!! I’m happy to have enjoyed the music and food etc! 😀

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    2. PS I love the old Anderson and other tales- of course

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    3. PS. I’d be honoured if you checked out my Tales of the Caravanserai – whenever you have time.

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  2. DG MARYOGA says:

    Hope you feel better after the surgery.Take good care dear Cybele ~ Looking forward to your new inspirational work.xxx

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    1. I hope I will not disappoint!!! 😀 I’m neversure where I will go with things!!

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  3. DG MARYOGA says:

    Oh Sybele Dear!What a sweet post filled with vivid memories and nostalgia.Your Still Life painting is a real masterpiece of Art,a gorgeous painting with warm subdued colouration greatly matching the plot of the opera.I’m an opera lover too,I’ve all (Aννα Μαρία Σοφία Καικιλία Καλογεροπούλου) operas in vinyl and also Arianna Stasinopoulou’s best seller book “MARIA CALLS” ,subtittled : “The woman behind the myth”.A few know that Maria Callas was her pseudonym,but I am certain sure you do.Thank you for your wonderful post;you are a thespian talent,an inspiration 🙂 xxx

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    1. I’m always happy to meet another opera lover!! I read an older book some years ago about her tragic personal life and her great art. I believe she died heartbroken. Yes the family had changed the name!! I thought Onassis was a “cad.” to put politely!!:) I’m grateful my grandfather gave me that gift!! my taste in music is eclectic! I love the celtic music too of my mother’s culture! My Niko is an opera lover too!! and of course Callas is the inspiration for him as well. He loves the old dvd recordings. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment. This adds so much richness to our lives!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mélanie says:

    molto bello… grazie, DM! 🙂

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    1. Thank you Melanie!!

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  5. I was brought up on a diet of classical music and opera too, the taste for which I’ve never lost. I’ve going to a real performance when I get the chance. It’s just not the same on TV or DVD! Beautiful shot and perfect for the aria

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    1. thank you so much traveller for stopping by and commenting!! I agree with you!! I have a rather eclectic taste now in music and try to include in my posts!! (a multi media effect lol). I hope you come by again!

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  6. So beautiful, Cybele. I loved listening to this. I don’t know much about opera but I do know what I like! 🙂

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    1. It’s a lovely aria!! Thank you Linda!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Maria F. says:

    Thanks for the opera, my parents also played them. The image is so symbolic as of things that “have been in an attic”. I work on still lives now and then, but it’s also more therapeutical to go outside and shoot. I once put Maria Callas with “Madama Butterfly” in one of my posts about butterflies, but I took it down because it was too long.

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    1. I hear you Maria and I agree about getting outside!! Your flower images are superb!!! – and so glad you have good opera memories- you should have left Callas with your post I would have loved to have seen it or read about it!!

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      1. Maria F. says:

        I was able to restore it because I left the link. The reason I put this opera in that post was because I had visited the Tampa Science and Industry museum, and they had a butterfly house these. So that inspired me to post ‘Madama Butterfly; also, here:
        https://tropicalfloweringzone.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/madame-butterfly-and-the-pentas/

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      2. a gorgeous post Maria and such a beautiful aria by Madame Callas!! I read her biography when I was young – I think she died in 74 or around there. It was very tragic, like the operas. Her love affair with Onassis- he was a bit of a cad I think!

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  8. Emilio Pasquale says:

    My first opera was Aida at the Met! The anticipation was much like making love for the first time! It was such a grown-up thing to do. And, of course, over much too quickly! 🙂 I love that the public consciousness has been raised by artists such as Sarah Brightman, Joshua Bell, Andrea Bocelli, et al. Just wish opera had more of a popular following. I usually have to listen by myself. None of my friends, nor my wife, really appreciate it.

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    1. Oh I am always happy to find another opera fan!! I agree with your sentiments lol!! Opera is still performed throughout the world and does have a following though certainly here in North America it probably was not a part of the culture as it has been in Europe. I love many different musical styles but how can you forget something that was part of growing up. My grandfather on Dad’s side was Italian. He wore a smoking jacket and smoked European cigarettes before the movement to stop smoking began. He talked with his hands. He reeked of culture lol!! I have to credit and thank him for my love of opera. The Plebeians don’t know what they are missing!! 😀

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      1. Emilio Pasquale says:

        My grandfather wore what is now euphemistically called a wife beater shirt and smoked cheap cigars. Plebian, indeed! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lol!!! Yes but he must have been Italian!! That is the most important!

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      3. Emilio Pasquale says:

        Of course he was Italian. Although some German opera is not too bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. 🙂 You have a fine name!! true – Wagner is quite grand too!

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      5. Emilio Pasquale says:

        When I was young, I hated my name! Funny how you grow to appreciate things. Like opera. Or brussel sprouts!

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      6. and I hated my nose! lol But it’s served me well except during a cold and what not!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Emilio Pasquale says:

        Named after my grandfather and one of my uncles! Thanks. And I love the name Cybele, whether or not that is your real name! Very ethereal!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Mark Simms says:

    Lovely textured image Cyb

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  10. robert87004 says:

    Hi Hannah, opera is not my first thought in music but I do agree that there is wonder and beauty, tragedy and comedy all mixed in. It can be beautiful, no question. I like your flowers too. 🙂

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    1. My taste in music is eclectic as you probably have seen on the blog but I did grow up with opera as I spent a good deal of time with my grandparents. I’m glad I did. There is a richness and a history to it. Thanks for reading Robert!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. sixpixx says:

    Wonderful photo… Not sure about the Opera. I know, I know. Call me a heathen.

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    1. Oh I grew up with it from spending time with my grandparents. But it is till very popular in Europe and even here on Vancouver Island we have an opera company and following. My taste is music is quite eclectic though!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. suej says:

    What a wonderful childhood experience! I have always listened to Classical Music, and as I get older I find myself drawn more to choral works than I was…..what a glorious Aria!

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    1. Yes it was very grown up and cultured lol!! I’m glad I had the experience!! I love many different kinds of music including celtic from my mom’s side. Thanks so much Sue!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. kazg10 says:

    Nicely done Cybele, I love the effect 🙂

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  14. Amy says:

    I love Puccini’s opera. Beautiful corner of the attic!

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    1. thanks so much Amy- happy you like Puccini too!!

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  15. Love the warmth, and texture overlay in your flower image!

    The Phantom of the Opera is I think the only Opera I’ve seen, but I do love Musicals. I have a collection of my favorites on soundtracks, and DVD’s.

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah!! My grandfather loved musicals too and so do I!! Phantom of the opera is great and I loved Freddy Mercury too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. lauramacky says:

    I am listening. My husband adores opera…I like it but it depends. I LOVE Arias though! I wish I could see just arias when I go and leave out all the in between stuff lol. Beautiful flower image as well!

    Like

    1. I agree Laura- the arias are the highlight! Thank you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lauramacky says:

        You’re welcome!

        Like

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