I had the priviledge of visiting Savonlinna Opera Festival this past weekend with my mother!
We saw Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, which was breathtaking. I’m no opera connoisseur like my mother, but I do enjoy artistic elements of it. I remember seeing my first opera when I was 10 years old and being simultaneously terrified and enthralled by how expressive opera can be. When the characters are in love, man, they’re IN LOVE. There’s no arguing that cupid hit those two (or three) hard. And when someone dies? Hold your breath because either a soprano is going to sing-cry so dramatically you have no other choice but to empathize, or a tenor is going to falsetto the shit out of that sorrow. Either way, expect to be moved. These artists perform so passionately, being lifted into the story with them is inevitable. One of the reasons I think La Traviata may be my favorite opera to date, is for the following excerpts:
“Love is the pulse of the universe”
“Love can be filled with ecstasy and agony”
And my favorite: “Pleasure is the best medicine”
(and yes, La Traviata, alongside 99.9% of Operas, carries Love as one of it’s main themes.) There are many “____ is the best medicine” variants. Laughter is the best medicine. Knowledge is the best medicine. Nature is the best medicine. Dave Mathews Band is the best medicine. While each of these holds a certain amount of truth, I found Verdi’s ‘Pleasure is the best medicine’ alternative refreshing.
I’d personally like to add ice cream being the best medicine 😉
While Verdi’s ‘pleasure’ was in the context of parties, good food, wine and festivities, I started to think how right he was! If you think of all the various contexts possible to detail ‘pleasure’
Making Finnish ‘lettu’ for dinner
and how an open fire always coincides with marshmallow roasting.
As dear German friend Johannes said: Around a fire gather the people you love
Finding more mushrooms and berries in the woods than you know what to do with
Remembering Nature is Free
And having a mother who will hold everything so you can get a picture with your friend
(Thanks Mom 😉 )
It’s actually incredible how easy it is to remember all the things in your daily life that bring you immense amounts of pleasure. Anything that makes you smile, big or small, is worth being grateful for. And who knows, maybe that is the best medicine?
Question: What is the best medicine for you?