Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nessun Dorma

Perhaps one of the most famous tenor arias is Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot. You can find it all over youtube nowadays, most especially by Pavarotti. Of course, if you listen to Pavarotti I have to tell you it's far far better than anyone else you'll find singing it.

Such things occur to me at odd times, to seek out particular pieces of music, and I won't tell what exactly made me look for Puccini but I found a recording of Pavarotti at the Torino Olympics. (And if you watch this, check out how far his mouth opens... it's like anime characters almost, so wide.) Anyway, listening to him sing reminded me how impressed I had been watching him sing then, for the Opening Ceremonies. I never was much into opera, really. I didn't know the story of Turandot, nor the meaning of the lyrics to Nessun Dorma. I find it somewhat interesting then I was listening to it on a graveyard shift in the lab...

"Nessun dorma" actually means "none shall sleep" or something like that, in Italian. In the opera, the princess (who is named Turandot) has decreed that nobody will be allowed to sleep that night until the name of the prince, who has met her challenge and thus is able to marry her, is discovered. If she can learn his name, she will not have to marry him. It's a riddle the prince has given to her and this aria is sung on that night, since he has very nearly won. The last words of the aria even mean "I will win!" meaning he will get to marry her--it's more romantic than that, really, he's trying to get her to fall in love with him. The crescendo... it's beautiful. It's enchanting, not knowing the words, that's the beauty of opera anyway.

It was interesting to find the meaning though, "none shall sleep," while working graveyard. I've finished my last graveyard shift, though, I'm happy to say. Working at night has a disturbing effect, I think. The prayer times are designed around the sun, this keeps you in touch with reality, the motion of the sun. Keeps your body in a natural rhythm. Working up at night is an undesired state... and I feel bad for anyone who has to go through that regularly. For the last four weeks I've had this disturbing schedule, working Mondays midnight-4am, and Wednesdays 4am-8am, and Thursdays 8pm-midnight, in addition to normal daytime hours of school/work. So being up extraordinarily late Sunday night... having to get up extraordinarily early Wednesday morning... staying up again Thursday night... it's been hard to catch up, and I've paid for it in a number of ways, not the least of which is a regrettable effect on my salaat.

So I have decided to stop working graveyard hours like that, to stop working such late, early, or otherwise bizarre hours. Losing sleep is bad, the effect on my concentration is lamentable, but salaat is even more important than that, isn't it? Anyway, I'm looking forward to, after over a year of working strangely late hours which disrupt my overall performance at school and work, I'm going to stop. For a number of combined reasons I've decided (almost) also to only work one job in the fall semester. I'll pull as many hours there as I can inshaaAllah, but I think overall that will be much healthier (physically, not to mention spiritually) for me. Without having to worry about night hours in the lab, I can actually work more hours at DOT--being fresh in the morning to come in an hour earlier, no late night commitments so I can stay an hour later--and it adds up, will cover most of the difference for not working in the lab. I will have one night class, but other than that my schedule should be relatively normal, inshaaAllah. And I can hope that will make adusting to the fasting of Ramadan easier as well. I may change my mind and keep the second job on the stipulation I don't work graveyard, but I think I'll much prefer to leave it entirely (part of that has to do with new duties being assigned to the job that I'm not interested in, by the way.)

Anyway. You heard it here first. Yay! Alhamdulillah.

No comments: