This is my favorite aria. This is Maria Callas. This is “Andrea Chenier”, Umberto Giordano. This is Madeleine. She’s saying how during the French Revolution, a mob set fire to her house, and her mother died, saving her. “The place that cradled me is burning.” Can you hear the heartache in her voice? Can you feel it, Joe? In come the strings and it changes everything. The music fills with a hope, and that’ll change again. Listen. Listen. “I bring sorrow to those who love me.” Oh, that single cello. “It was during this sorrow that love came to me.” A voice filled with harmony. It says, “Live still, I am life. Heaven is in your eyes. Is everything around you just the blood and mud? I am divine. I am oblivion. I am the god that comes down from the heavens, and makes of the Earth a heaven. I am love! I am love.”
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Forget everything you’ve seen on television. There’s not going to be any surprise, last minute witnesses. Nobody’s going to break down on the stand with a tearful confession. You’re going to be presented with a simple fact: Andrew Beckett was fired. You’ll hear two explanations as to why he was fired. Ours, and theirs. It’s up to you to sit through layer upon layer of truth until you determine for yourself which version sounds the most true. There’s certain points I must prove to you. Point number one: Andrew Beckett is a brilliant lawyer, a great lawyer. Point number two: Andrew Beckett is inflicted with a debilitating disease and it may be understandable. Maybe even personable, that he made the legal choice to keep the fact of his secret to himself. Point number three: His employers discovered his illness and ladies and gentlemen, the illness I’m referring to is AIDS. Point number four: They panicked. And in their panic, they did what most of us would like to do with AIDS which is to get it and everybody who has it, as far away from the rest of us as possible. Now, the behavior of Andrew Beckett’s employers may seem reasonable. It does to me. But no matter how you come to judge Charles Wheeler and his partners in ethical, moral, and inhuman terms, the fact of the matter is, when they fired Andrew Beckett because he has AIDS, they broke the law.