We were driving around a short while ago and I was in one of my overly-cocky moods, the kind where I make all kinds of daring-but-stupid pronouncements. “You know,” I said, “I just don’t like Mozart all that much.” Frances brought me back to reality: “But what about The magic flute?”
Indeed, The magic flute might be my favorite opera of all (although Salome is right in there, strange companions as those two may seem). A couple of days ago I was in the attic and spotted my piano score of it and brought it down with a plan for a Sunday run-through. I did a very quick highlights-only version, from overture to finale. I included the mini-overture to the second act, which is one of my favorite bits. The piano sounded bright and lovely (if woefully out of tune at this point) in Papageno’s celeste and piccolo parts. I sang along a bit with “In diesen heilegen Hallen” and “O Isis und Osiris“, but didn’t try my hand at the Queen of the Night’s arias. All in all, it was a bright and cheery way to start the Sunday before Christmas. I know that Fledermaus is the holiday opera, but today I felt like Magic flute could be a holiday tradition, too.
It all made me want to put the Ingmar Bergman film in our Netflix queue again. Actually, I should just break down and buy the DVD. I love the opera dearly, and the image of it in my head will always be this film. I remember going to see it with my father in Atlanta when it came out in the 1970s. We both adored it. I remember that he had a friend at work who was very proud of his German heritage, and my dad highly recommended this for him to see with his kids. I can’t remember if his co-worker followed his advice, but I like to think that he did and they all had a great time, too. I saw a review of the DVD at Amazon.com that recommended this for kids, too — the author also mentions showing it to his class in “Critical philosophical problems”, perhaps a reminder to a bunch of dour philosophy students to lighten up a little.
The weather service says that there’s a good chance of snow the evening of Christmas Eve here. Curling up by the tree with the snow falling outside and listening to Mozart in Swedish has a lovely holiday ring to it, I think. I wonder if I should spring for express shipping?