Exactly one year ago, on July 3, 2006, we learned from the Internet, that famously unreliable news source (after all, we wouldn't be a part of it if it were otherwise), the frankly unbelievable news of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's death, at the scandalously young age of 52.
What in fact happened, of course, is simply that the spaceship that had left her here with the precise assignment to show everybody on this silly planet what singing is really, really about, well, that spaceship came back -- Hunt Lieberson left this irredeemably vulgar planet from Santa Fe, by the way, and how close to Roswell is that, come on, it's just so evident -- and took her away, to where she had come from. Because celestial beings can only inhabit a place as mean and disorganized as this world only for a short little while -- just like Mozart, Dinu Lipatti, Jimi Hendrix, those other envoys coming from the same place of pure music and beauty as LHL came from, right?
This is not to say that the sadness is diminished by this fact -- to the contrary, we can only imagine the crushing sorrow that her absence has created in her splendid husband's life, and in everybody who had the monstruous luck to get to know her -- Stelle barbare, stelle spietate / Perché mai tanto rigor?, for reals.
And there's huge sadness for Opera Chic, too, who has always considered Lorraine Hunt Lieberson not just the greatest mezzo to ever appear on this planet but also her cool, cool incredibly smart and funny New Age aunt, even if OC never had the honor to meet LHL in person.
The digital coolness of CD sound will never have the magic of her voice -- digital music is after all just a very long sequence of numbers, and there's nothing mathematical about that otherworldly sound, no way.
But it's all we're left with, and we're priviliged enough because it's a lot. Just don't believe she's dead -- she's about as dead as Mozart, who was here blasting La Clemenza in Opera Chic's house just a few minutes ago (and he ate all our chocolate, too).
She's unable to take any more roles, yes. But dead? Don't be silly.
Ciao, Lorraine: Per te sempre il cor sarà.
(and this is our first and last July 3 post about her -- from next year on, we will only celebrate; celebrate the birthday, on March 1, of our faraway, infinitely cool hippie aunt)