I had a wonderful surprise yesterday. I never could have imagined that a concert in the auditorium of a little -known high school far from the centre of town would move me to wonder and to tears. Some dear friends of mine ( in fact I am one of two godmothers to their daughter) kindly invited me to a concert by a renowned Albanian opera singer. She was not renowned to me but my curiosity and my affection for this family made me happy to accept.
I arrived early . My British phobia of tardiness and the fact that I was a bit vague on how to get to the venu, ensured that I arrived three quarters of an hour early. I had time to finish a TC Boyle story in my car. I was surprised to find that the auditorium really was “state of the art.” A very smartly dressed and surprisingly young crowd filled the bar area. When we entered the hall I saw a grand piano set up to accompany the singer. It was touching to see the reaction of the mainly Abanian crowd. The soprano, dressed in a stunning gown was greeted with a standing ovation in anticipation of what was to come. It was one of many ovations given by this enthusiastic crowd. Mula is the daughter of another famous singer and this family is beloved of the community. Her accompanist was a young man, Genc Tuici,who displayed his considerable talent in a solo performance of his own composition after the intermission. Ms. Mula was joined for some duets by a fine Macedonian soprano, Deshira Ahmet Kerliu.
Mme. Mula performed selections from various French and Italian operas including a stunning rendition of ” O Mio Bambbio Caro” . The second part of the performance consisted of a selection of Albanian popular songs. The sentiment in the hall was palpable. Of course I was at a disadvantage as the lyrics were a mystery to me. However, there was something so warm and welcoming about the crowd that I found touching.
For me the highlight of the evening was the piano composition. M. Tukici started to play after the intermission in a rather gentle and flowing way. Then he introduced a very familiar melody, the “Rondo Alla Turc ” by Mozart. Some of us were humming along under our breath in spite of the jazzy treatment. Then another familiar melody, the Canadian national anthem, emerged, played in what I can only describe as a very rich and loving arrangement. Gradually a third melody, and from the gasps of recognition, I concluded that it was the Albanian anthem. The strands of melody, familiar and beloved were so skillfully woven together that we were all carried along by the clever composition and the sentiments it evoked.
My goddaughter is charming and her parents so refreshing and energetic. I appreciated so much the opportunity to be present at a wonderful concert. It made me think how many other talents artists are performing, unknown to us, appreciated and hailed only by their own limited circle. We are lucky to be surrounded by such a variety of cultures. Maybe we should explore a little more!