Friday, February 16, 2007

"Until I die, there's only you"

If you've read anything about me on this blog, you know that my background and education is in classical music. Many of my friends in college and in graduate school were singers - and in academia, especially in a well-known music school, that means "opera singers". There are a lot of stigmas that can be applied there - and many, I admit, are quite true.

Being a gay man (oh stop, you did so know), I also have a weakness for musical theater. Yeah, a lot of it is meant to blatantly tug at the emotions - but the good musicals do that so well.

Now, if you combine an operatic voice with musical theater - well, sometimes moisture occurs.

This is from a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Weber, I think for his 50th birthday (it's about 9 years old). The singer is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa - she is a renowned soprano from New Zealand (part Maori). What is amazing is that no matter how dramatic - and high - the music gets, she almost looks as if she's simply speaking. Whether you like classical music or not, just imagining producing this sound from the human body is nothing short of incredible. Honestly - try to create the sounds that she does, in what seems like an effortless way (trust me - it AIN'T effortless!).

Anyway - here is an amazing performance of Dame Te Kanawa in 1998 (just under 5 minutes - and worth it). I could listen to her over and over and over ...

The lyrics, if you would like:

The heart is slow to learn,
the heart is slow to learn.
These feelings that I feel
are foolish but they're real.
I'm wise enough to see this love will never be;
and each day's like the last when living in the past.

I know it's mad, and you won't return,
but then, as I have said -
the heart is slow to learn.

I've never loved as I have loved you;
Why is love cruel? I wish I knew.
Say what you will - it doesn't matter.
Until I die, there's only you -
until I die, there's only you.

The heart is slow to learn,
the heart is slow to learn.
You'd think there'd be a way
to shut out yesterday.
Perhaps if I just thought
of all the times we fought,
I'd try to let us know there's still no letting go.

I know it's mad, and you won't return;
but then as I have said - the heart is slow to learn.

Why is love cruel? I wish I knew ...

Say what you will - it doesn't matter.
Until I die, there's only you;
until I die, there's only you.
Why is love cruel? I wish I knew.
Say what you will - it doesn't matter.
Until I die, there's only you ...
Until I die, there's only you.

The heart is slow to learn.


john said...

The first broadway show that made an impact on me was "Phantom of The Opera"--the song "All I Ask of You". Such beautiful lyrics.

KipEsquire said...

Well it's hardly "The Lonely Goatherd," but I suppose it's adequate.


Matt said...

Oh, no ... I'm not falling for that this time, kipesquire. The last time you did that to me, I had "Dominic the Donkey" in my head all day ...


sue said...

i was moved to tears matt, thank you!! much luck on your new job!!!!

Lewis said...

I'm on my way to listen right after I post this....I'm already confident that it'll be amazing, wonderful, and that I'll be running for a hankie. You mentioned ALW's 50th birthday....Hubby and me were in London at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the 80th birthday of Albert Bernstein...he directed the London Symphony Orchestra that night...and premiered the music to Far From Heaven (which he wrote). Crazy should have been there.

Tom said...

Beautiful and moving. I keep coming back to listening to it.

LSL said...

Stunning and overwhelming! I'm going to bookmark this so I can come back and listen over and over.

Anonymous said...

"Being a gay man...I also have a weakness for musical theater" So, to man and like musical theatre one has to be gay? Interesting point. I'm glad everyone else doesn't stereotype that way, or the world would be an even more confusing place.

Matt said...

Anonymous, that was said tongue-in-cheek. Not to mean that one has to be gay to enjoy musical theater, but that I was playing into the stereotype that ALL gaymen like musical theater. Which, of course, isn't true.

Sorry you missed that and were offended.

Anonymous said...

That's fine. Sorry that I didn't pick up on your under-played sarcasm! I came across your blog as I was trying name some un-named track in my iTunes, and this track was one of them. From the title of your post I got the impression that it was called "Until I Die, There's Only You." However, I later found out that the actual title is "The Heart is Slow to Learn". This may help your readers who are trying to find it in the shops. Sorry again for being exceptionally slow to grasp the intentions of your comment! Be blessed.

Chris from Southampton, UK said...


My partner of oh-so-many years adores opera. I don't. And, generally, I find that when the 'bel canto' voice is applied to even the best songs from musical theatre that the song is killed.

Wrong cart, wrong horse.

But, over the years we've both enjoyed going to musicals, and gone to a fair few opening nights in London.

I was given this DVD a few weeks ago. And, despite the fact that ALW makes my toes curl, I have to admit he can write some damned good tunes.

So I watched KTK start this song with reservation. The reservations remained until the last time she sings "Until I die, there's inly you."

It's sung with such power, such purity, that I had goosebumps, hairs on end, shivers, and a few tears.

It's a truly astonishing performance.

And, even better, she shows Sarah Brightman what an opera singer should sound like!