Day 140 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

It’s been quite a while since I woke up early in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep … but it did happen today.

Funny isn’t it but I love these times in the early hours when all is quiet. I put on my little pocket radio (don’t laugh: I keep it under my pillow) and hear all manner of interesting things. As you must know by now?

Well, today I heard an interview on Radio National with Sharleen Cooper Cohen, an American Producer, Novelist and Writer talking about her latest Musical which had its Opening Night in Melbourne, (Australia) last night eg Friday. Of course, it is “An Officer and a Gentleman.” One of my favourite movies … now a musical.

Surely we all remember this movie from the 1980’s? It launched the careers of both Debra Winger and Richard Gere. Oh, he was so dashing and handsome in this movie! To this day, I cannot resist the charms of a Richard Gere movie. Oh well, I can always dream … but it’s a little late for me.

However, what took my fancy most of all was when the discussion turned to a musical that Sharleen wrote expanding on the story of the Queen of Sheba – simply called:  ‘SHEBA.” It was produced around 1997 and then updated in 2002. I did not know that such a musical existed. Sharleen was fascinated by the story in the Bible and researched it for her musical.

Now, you will remember how easily my son-in-law Steve and I bandied around the name “Queen of Sheba” as in the Sheridan Lounges when we were in Fiji? I would love to laze on these lounges because they were so opulent. At the time, I remember thinking to myself: “what did the Queen of Sheba have to do with any of this?” I did know that it was biblical.

Well my dear friends, now I have more information than I know what to do with! Isn’t it amazing that the saying is true: “when the pupil is ready, the teacher will come?” Well, the teacher (the internet) did come. Oh, I learned so much about the Queen of Sheba!  As the BBC website asks: “why, if so little is known about her, has she become such an important figure?”  Why indeed? So I present:

          “The Queen of Sheba- an exotic and mysterious woman of power – is immortalised in the world’s great religious works, among them the Hebrew Bible and the Muslim Koran.”

But not only that, she also appears in Turkish and Persian painting and in medieval Christian mystical works, where she is viewed as the embodiment of Divine Wisdom. Her tale has been told and retold in many lands for nearly 3,000 years. How amazing! So of course, it is imperative that I give you an edited version of her tale as told in the Christian (and Jewish) Old Testament so you can understand:

 

“And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bore spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

And King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, and besides all this, Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. (I Kings 10 v.1-13)”

 

So you can see that she was a very wealthy woman and why her story captures our imagination even to this day. She tested Solomon to see if he was indeed wise as was rumoured throughout the lands. Even Jesus Christ mentions the Queen of Sheba in the Gospel:

“The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here”. (Matthew 12:4212:42)

I cannot say that I ever noticed this reference to Sheba before. A pretty powerful lady. It is thought the Queen of Sheba came from the region of Yeman or Saba but then again, there are so many theories it is difficult to discuss them all here!

In closing, let me say that there has been:

  •  a full Opera (circa 1987) called The Queen of Sheba
  •  a 1959 Hollywood movie called “Solomon and Sheba starring Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida
  •  a UK documentary in 2002 called Queen of Sheba: Behind the Myth 
  • of course, the musical by Sharleen Cohen Cooper called “Sheba”
  • and many other operas, music, books etc.

So folks, I will leave you with this very short introduction to the Queen of Sheba thanks to my sleeplessness this morning. What an adventure it has taken me on. I do hope you have enjoyed reading it every bit as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Until tomorrow …

Read more on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/cultures/sheba_01.shtml

 

Advertisements