Mating Call

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Mating Call

Long ago, he realized one well-known fact: a lot of things are considered forgivable, even for a double-dyed villain if he has outstanding talents. He was so used to this reality that he didn’t hesitate to abuse it. He was the king of the scene, and because of him, performances were repeatedly interrupted right in the middle of the act and couldn’t be continued while the audience cheered him, standing for many minutes and bathing their idol in the ocean of applause. He was constantly called for an encore when spectators asked him again and again to perform at least the piece of his aria, in which his royal notes revealed in all their glory.

He never approached his parts formally: studying the history and culture of the region where the action of a particular performance took place, as well as his hero’s character and personality, he got the true feel of his role and not just sang, but acted and lived in every aria. Even in vocalizes, he could, without a single word, put into the sound all the pain, joy or sadness, taking the necessary chords on the strings of the spectators’ souls.

The audience froze, and women’s hearts began to beat more and more often when he appeared in front of them in his luxurious costume and makeup and turned his breath into a sound that combined the whole grace and power of his incomparable voice.

The acting talent which allowed him to cry or laugh, simply by a willing effort, amazed and marvelled the masses. He performed any action with the scenic naturalness, used gestures and facial expressions or demonstrated fencing skills in such a way that made everybody believe in the reality of his stage life. His speech always sounded so convincingly and plausibly, as if his mind generated the famous words of opera arias at the moment instead of reproducing the long-studied text for the hundredth time. These words touched everyone’s heart. Everything in him was up to the mark, and each performance with his participation looked like something real: at first, there was an anxious waiting, then a charming aftertaste; but in the course of the spectacle, which the audience wanted to watch forever, heroes, kings and nobles, empires and kingdoms came to life and acquired their own being on stage. It seemed to everyone that here and now, even if for a short time, there were true rulers or Olympic deities in front of you, who governed their subjects and decided the fate of mortals. Spectators had an illusion that here, on a broad stage, one could see only a small part of some gigantic, colossal opera world where every joy or pain was expressed in songs coming from the bottom of the soul and accompanying any action, whether it was a sword strike or an oath of eternal love. It seemed that when the king, here and now, sang from the stage about his deeds, at the same time, the people of his kingdom were singing somewhere while doing other things. Servants, maids, soldiers, commoners, nobles — all those who didn’t come into view during the opera performance — they were living out there, far beyond the scenery flats. It turned out that at a time when the main character was involved in some business and events, life went on and something equally mysterious and remarkable happened in other places with other people.

Those around him could hardly explain this phenomenon. Still, they saw how singers started to act better, doing their best to catch up to his level of performance, while ordinary public lost the feeling of scenic conventionality and began to perceive themselves not as passive spectators of the play, but as actual participants of the unfolding story. It looked like everyone received a part of that bright, unusual power which poured from him in an inexhaustible stream. It resembled a power of magnet that is able to transfer its properties to the metal without losing a bit of its force, being in contact with it for a long time. One could also remember a torch capable of lighting a fire in many lanterns.

And yet he was a cruel man with a black heart, who didn’t become any better because of his aesthetic craving for beauty or performing, exclusively, the leading parts of noble and courageous characters. They instilled the feelings of deep respect, empathy and sympathy to the audience though.

He behaved self-confidently and impertinently. It seemed that everything around belonged only to him, and he was infallible and always right in any circumstances, and others always owed him something. He did whatever his narcissistic spoiled nature desired, living for the moment without any reflection on the future, and never considered the possible consequences. After all, you can’t restrict a «free man» in acting consistently with his beliefs!

Sinking to the level of small dirty tricks, he didn’t tolerate the performers to whom the respectable public also applauded deservedly, and those who just seemed to surpass him in something, so he tried to ruin their lives by any means at his disposal. People who knew him first-hand respected and recognized his outstanding vocal and acting abilities, his unique male charisma of a young but accomplished opera singer. However, if someone was mature enough to know life a little, then this person tried to keep the distance from him. Therefore, his close circle mainly consisted of either naïve simpletons or other rascals. Some of them became other puppets in his low play, having swallowed the bait of the charming scoundrel, while others were just congenial to his heinous nature.


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