By Michael Moriarty
There is opera.
Then, of course…
There is La Boheme!
It’s recent production in Vancouver, conducted by Judith Yan and directed by Renaud Doucet, is, without question, the finest experience I’ve had in the theatre during my entire life in the theatre for over 50 of my almost 78 years.
I, however, don’t know which to rave on about more: La Boheme itself or this exquisite production’s leading tenor, Ji-Min Park?!
Do we drown ourselves in what I consider a sacred achievement: the final libretto and Giacomo Puccini’s music for La Boheme?
Or do we ponder at great length the extraordinary gifts that Maestro Park has been endowed with?
The two are very much alike.
A visionary generosity!
A virtually sacred intensity!
The opera itself contains all of that.
The voice of Park, however, can burn, yes, explode like the Sun itself!
Why and how?
That phenomenon is explained by the artist himself in his liner notes:
I lost my voice early on just after La Boheme
In short, he’s the caretaker of his gift.
He is not, due to his humility, the gift itself!
“The God-given Gift of his voice” possesses him!
Not the other way ‘round.
The courage it takes to surrender to such a calling?
What I define as his sacred vocation?
That courageous surrender and full commitment to it is profoundly rewarded by an undeniable bliss.
That euphoria is bursting out of his entire being and into his voice!
By a pure ecstasy which he shares with his audience through the sheer miracles of his surrender to the genius God endowed him with!
I remember debating happily with my fellow cast member of Law and Order, Paul Sorvino, about who can be called the greatest tenor in the history of the world: Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Jussi Bjorling, Benjamin Gigli, Tito Schipa (my father’s favourite), Giuseppe di Stefano (Ji-min Park’s favourite)?
My own favourite now?
The size of his ecstasy as it explodes through his voice!
God didn’t put us on Earth to suffer!
He expected us to find Heaven here!
To create it, if we must, but only with His help of course.
Ji-Min Park allows that miracle to happen every time he appears on stage!
He is, in short, in much larger, much more mysterious hands than most of us are.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.