Lockdown in Paris: Day 14

Flawless deep blue skies lift the soul.

Yesterday, I sang. Well, more like my mouth opened up and out came a song, as if my body knew what it needed at that moment. What came out was something from my past, something I thought I’d long since forgotten, an old Italian art song from the days when I studied opera: “Gia il sole dal gange,” by Scarlatti. It’s a light, allegro melody that dances happily.

After that song, others flowed out from where they’d been stowed all these years, maybe for safekeeping, for when I’d need them most: “Nel cor più non mi sento;” “Amarilli, mia bella;” “Pur dicesti, o bocca bella;” songs from Bellini’s Composizioni da Camera: “Dolente immagine di fille mia,” “Per pietà, bell’idol mio,” and my favorite, “Ma rendi pur contento.” I sang my heart out for an hour, transporting myself to a happier, more idyllic time, when I was immersed in voice studies at The Singer’s Forum in New York. My body vibrated with sound, my voice filled the emptiness of the street outside.

Then the sobbing came.

Listen to my recording, below, of this song.

My sadness, my fears, my sense of loss all came pouring out. These emotions, too, had been stowed since this pandemic began, perhaps waiting until I felt strong enough to feel them. The singing gave me that strength, that outlet. The act of singing—breathing, supporting the breath, giving voice to my deepest feelings—activated what I had been suppressing. And today, I feel stronger.

I read an article by a psychologist who said we are actually all experiencing mourning: loss of sense of security, loss of innocence, loss of our normal lives, global loss of life. Yesterday, I realized that was true for me. If it’s possibly true for you, take some time to check in with yourself now. You can try the breathing exercise I recommended, here. If you are experiencing sadness, give it an outlet before it becomes depression. Whether it’s listening to moving music, or watching a tearjerker, get those tears flowing if they’re stuck in there. Or, if you prefer, do the opposite: dance and sing until you shake out the demons. Whatever it takes to get in touch with your true feelings.

We’re talking a lot about how to feel better during this time, but sometimes it’s about allowing yourself to feel your pain. It’s only when you feel the fullness of your emotions that you are truly strong and at peace. Happiness is not the absence of pain; it’s embracing life in the full—the good and the bad—with gratitude.

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Song of the day

Here, a recording I made yesterday of my singing “Ma rendi pur contento,” by Bellini. It’s a little shaky with emotion, but maybe all the better for it. My gift to you, dear reader. Listen via this player below.

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Get caught up on my diary, here.

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Tip of the day

You know what I’m going to say: Get singing! Put on your favorite music and sing your heart out. It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune or not. Sing whatever stirs your soul. Give voice to your feelings in a way that is constructive and musical. Afterward, spend a few minutes getting in touch with how you’re feeling. If tears are there, let them out. Have a good cry, but for no more than one minute, because we don’t want a downward spiral, just a release. Then dry your eyes, stretch out your arms, breathe, and smile. Repeat as needed. If you find yourself truly in the grips of depression, please contact a mental health professional. You are not alone.

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To get the emotions flowing

Towanda! Click to view.

Italian art songs by a mezzo powerhouse. Click CD cover to buy, or listen for free with Amazon Prime

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. Click book to buy.

34 responses to “Lockdown in Paris: Day 14

  1. Lovely! Thank you for the song. I think your writing has become so descriptive and heart felt!! Take care of yourself.

    Laura

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Lisa, Thank you for the lovely gift, your voice is beautiful.
    Take care, we’ll all get through this together.
    ~Joanie

  3. Thank you so much Lisa for sharing something so personal and your voice Wow !!! Keep singing…

  4. That was beautiful. I so enjoy your diary and photos. I am keeping this open on my iPad for when I need a lift. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for these wonderful updates Lisa. You have a glorious voice! Why not think about a weekly apero hour concert for neighbours?

  6. Lisa, You have such a lovely voice! What a treat this recording is! Thank you for adding it to this blog.

    I absolutely cannot sing. Not a note, not a quaver. Dogs howl at my singing, birds fall out of the sky in shock. We’ll be on a beach and I’ll be plugged into my iPod, singing, when I get a punch to the arm. ‘Mo-o-o-m, you’re singing.’ I mean, we’re outside, there’s the sound of the waves. When I was in high school, chorus was mandatory. Every year, we did these productions of Broadway musicals, complete with costumes–the works. One year, I somehow made it into the Ascot Gavotte number for My Fair Lady. During a rehearsal, the director didn’t like what she was hearing, so she came up into the risers and pinpointed me as the problem. Not only was I off, I was throwing everyone around me off. So we made a deal. I stayed in the number, kept my costume and my credits. But I opened my mouth to sing and made nary a sound. I acted my little heart out; played to the balcony, but never sang a note.

    Now, I only sing in the car, windows rolled up. Beat out the rhythm on the steering wheel. I’m certain other drivers think I’m having a seizure. I’m not. I’m having fun.

    PS. Not only can’t I sing, I can’t dance, either. Been taking ballet since I was 6. It’s heartbreaking, really.

  7. Lisa! What beauty this morning. Thank you so much for this. What a lovely voice you have and it was just what I needed this morning. I have tears come unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. So I know I am carrying sadness beneath the surface. Keep these beautiful arias coming. Please. And stay well there in beautiful CLEAN Paris. ❤️

  8. I’m so happy to hear you sing! I remember reading about that in your book. Delightful to hear you.

    I also sing, American songbook stuff. I’m not professional, just an enthusiast, it’s been my major activity since retirement 7 yrs ago. I’ve taken an interest in jazz lately and was to begin a workshop when all this awfulness began. Who knows when I will be able to sing again?!! Except in my little home work area, where I putter around with my singing, ukulele, and computer.

    Thank you for your posts,

  9. What a sublime and eloquent, soulful dose of truth. As a singer also, currently in southern California where we have similar restrictions, and as a Paris lover, I thank you for this feeling of connection. Singing is deeply therapeutic. I have followed your journey there in Paris for some time but had no idea of this dimension which you have shared with us. Keep on singing.

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