“The Magic Flute” and I

Some works of music once heard become part of your soul, evoking memories and giving joy for a lifetime. For me one of most evocative is Mozart’s “Magic Flute”. With it’s wonderful arias and quirky story I can listen to it over and over and never tire. I first encountered “The Magic Flute” at the San Francisco Opera in the late 60’s and listened often to the highlights on my posh vinyl hifi system. I loved it.

When my marriage broke up in Stockholm in the 1970’s, as part of rebuilding my life I travelled by train to Vienna on a student ticket and on impulse stopped in Salzburg.

Of course, the opera was being performed at the famous Marionetten Theatre, or puppet theatre. Enquiring at the ticket office, I was told that unfortunately they were sold out. I turned to leave when the ticket seller suddenly said “Wait a minute, Miss, I have an idea. I can put a folding chair in the back for you since you’re on your own.” He then issued me a ticket which said in bold “Ein Stühl”

One chair. The performance was mine.

I was captivated by the amazing puppet performance and the gorgeous music, confirming my fascination with this lovely work.

The last year I lived in Sweden with my young daughter, I had to stay in the student housing over Christmas because I had an exam on January 4 so I had no time to travel to be with family. We were alone in the apartment complex apart from a Finnish-Yugoslavian family (as the country was called then.)

On Christmas Day we watched a production of the opera directed by Ingmar Bergman, totally transformed into a Swedish experience. I can still remember my 5 year old daughter’s fascinated with the bird catcher Papageno and the rest of the music

Currently on my living room wall I have 2 framed prints by the Danish artist Bjørn Wiinblad, which I bought at his wonderful house in Copenhagen. One is Papageno the bird catcher in all his finery and Princess Pamina looking for her lost love.

I love the symbolism – these two are soul-friends even though they are not a couple.

Why am I writing about ‘The Magic Flute” today?

Because it came on the radio just when I was beginning a new knitting project and I could share these memories.

Looking back doesn’t take away my sadness for what is happening in our world today. My prayers today are with the refugees who are desperately seeking solace and a new life. That they find what they are looking for with countries for who can well absorb them. They deserve no less.

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