A few days ago we were out burning old wood and trash in the garden. It was a big deal for us and the kids were all out helping me, wearing work gloves, wielding shovels and rakes.
Hey- I'm the first to admit that it doesn't take much to amuse us here in the depths of the French countryside.
We had to spend most of the afternoon digging out rotted logs and piling them on the fire. After a while though, I went into the kitchen to get dinner started, leaving the older ones in charge.
So there I was, peeling zucchini (we eat a lot of zucchini these days. People leave it anonymously on our doorstep, as there is a local glut and it's a known fact that I have four kids and no vegetable garden of my own. It's very kind, but right now I have a backlog of several pounds of the stuff.), when I heard singing.
To be more specific, it was The Jewel Song from Gounod's Faust.
I stuck my head out the window and was confronted by a sight that I think people would pay good money to see: My 12 year old son out by the fire, holding up his shovel like a mirror, giving a pretty fine falsetto rendition of Marguerite's most famous aria from Faust.
"Ah, je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir! Est-ce toi, Marguerite, est-ce toi? Réponds-moi… réponds-moi vite!Non! non! ce n'est plus toi!… non… non. Ce n'est plus ton visage: C'est la fille d'un roi…" he warbled, pretending to admire himself in his shovel/mirror. (In English: 'Oh, How I laugh to see myself so beautiful in this mirror. Is it you, Marguerite, it it you? Answer me..answer me quickly. No! No! It's not you. It's not your face: It's the daughter of a king.')
Now, those readers familiar with francophone culture might think Severin learned a line or two of this song from reading Tintin comics . In the old Belgian comic (now also a Spielberg film to be released in 2009), one of the characters is an obnoxious Italian soprano that constantly sings part of this aria.
But actually, he learned it because my kids had all insisted on watching the entire opera when it was on television recently. I have to say, it was a pretty proud moment for me as a mom, enjoying the live broadcast of this famous French opera with my four kids, who absolutely loved it. Even Sev. How many 12 year old boys do you know that would voluntarily sit through an opera and enjoy it?
Anyway, his version was really something to see. His three sisters were rolling in the grass, laughing like mad things. If my video camera hadn't been stolen I SO would have filmed it. On the other hand, I doubt Sev would have let me post it on YouTube. ..