I have already waxed poetical about my love for Mozart. What can I say but the man’s a genius? But within the place in my heart that is devoted to Mr. Wolfgang, there is a particular space, deep in the very core, devoted to his opera’s.
Miss Brilliance, my really close friend in high school, significantly influenced my taste in music. It was she who introduced me to the operatic form by loaning me a recording of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” It was love at first hearing. I experienced a rapturous out-of-body experience on first hearing the Queen of the Night’s aria. (skip until you are 2:12 into it.) Ironically, I thought she sounded incredibly joyful and did not understand she was the “feminist goddess of doom” personified.
My favorite person though in the whole opera is Papageno, the merry feather-covered bird catcher who is bumbling, humorous, and incredibly endearing. Who can not wish for his happiness when he is so alone in the world? “Oh yes, I’ve certainly got a soft heart! But what good’s that to me?—I often feel like pulling out all my feathers when I thank that Papageno still has no Papagena.” Of course the beautiful princess and the prince are destined for happily ever after, but shouldn’t all enjoy such bliss….even quirky bird catchers? Therefore, my favorite part is when Papageno finally meets his Papagena. Both are initially shy and hesitant and then the joy just bursts forth without restraint. The love is even more sweet because of the wait.
So although, with the passage of time, the Marriage of Figaro has surpassed the Magic Flute as my favorite Mozart opera, It still holds dear memories…..it being my first love. You can imagine my supreme happiness on learning that Kenneth Branagh has directed and produced film version of the Magic Flute. (Whatever people might say about Branagh, the man does have a gift. Much Ado About Nothing was genius as well as his Hamlet.) And it is set during World War I—a definite selling point for me, as for some reason I find that period to be desperately interesting. You could watch the trailer by visiting the official website, but I don’t recommend it as the website has to be THE most annoying website created by man. If you can find your way around, there are some interesting interviews with Stephen Fry who updated the libretto, but it is a search. Instead, go watch the trailer here, on youtube and ignore the French subtitles. The downer is that it will be eons before it is released into theaters in the U.S. (the UK release is in December). Even then, I will be forced to drive miles to find a theater showing it. Sigh!
“Love sweetens every trial, every being sacrifices to it. It is the spice of our life.”