Oh, I’d liked the music before. Who couldn’t love “I’m not getting married today“? (And I have always loved A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, but that’s an exception.) But the shows, the shows… so… conflicted. So depressing. So unsettling.
In high school the show that spoke most to me, really spoke to my deepest inner adolescent depths was The Fantasticks. “Without a hurt the heart is hollow.” The sufferings of teenagehood were buffing up my character, making things more real somehow. Sondheim also does that trick where everything ends prettily in the first act, only to be broken at the start of the second, but his second act doesn’t end with everybody with more real happiness at the end of the show. He’s not really big on closure.
Life’s not really big on closure.
Lots of people in high school liked Sondheim. I’m pretty sure #2 numbers among them. (True! #2 has loved Sondheim since the age of like 12, when she was still missing a lot of the lyrical jokes but starting to appreciate how very difficult it was to sing his incredible melodies. My very favorite is A Little Night Music. #1 loves this Stephen Colbert cover of Send in the Clowns. He explains where they are. See, closure.)
Were they more cynical? Less cynical? More mature? Is my new appreciation for Sondheim showing growth on my part or just an acceptance?
I went to a talk at a conference once where they had a couple of psychologists talking about how our emotions change as we age. One of the big things is that as we get older each negative event doesn’t affect us as much… we focus more on the positive and don’t let the negative get us down quite so much as before. Of course, as you get older there’s more negative events… people die off, get divorced etc.
So… I wonder how old I have to be before I like any Wagner other than Die Meistersinger.
How have your tastes matured as you’ve gotten older? Do you appreciate more or less?