One of the operas that I was always happy to see at the Santa Fe Opera when I was a child was Mozart’s, “The Magic Flute,” which tells a charming and fantastic story of a bird seller, a captured princess, a prince who wants to rescue her, an evil Queen of the Night, a priest and, a magic flute. The plot is complicated for a child, with mysterious rituals and intrigue, but also gaiety, wistful longing and love. Papageno’s theme song and chimes, along with the appearance of a monster and animals, made it one of the favorite, yet least understood operas of my childhood. What I found compelling was the incredible vocal range of The Queen of the Night, and the active and intense dramatic interaction of music, lighting, costumes, scenery and cast as they presented an opera full of imagination and wonder, exuding the profound brilliance and complexity of Mozart.
As I was painting, I could almost hear the swirl of the instruments tuning prior to the beginning of the first act, the swishing of women’s skirts on stage, the booming deep voice of the men, and the high repetitive notes of The Queen of the Night. I laughed again at silly Papageno, as I remembered his antics, chimes and song. I hope you sense some of the excitement and wonder I felt as the lights turned on, the music began, and the story began to unfold as you view my painting, “The Magic Flute.”