Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Magic Flute Casts a Spell on Me

For more than a month my Emmaline has been consumed by a Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute called "Der Holle Rache". She has listened to it constantly on her mp-3 player, played it on the piano, played it on the organ, sang it, researched it online.

In this research she not only discovered opera stars like Maria Callas, she discovered Florence Foster Jenkins, a lady who sang so badly that it made her famous enough to get invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. Emma's favorite bit of Jenkins trivia is the quote that was attributed to her after a taxi cab accident: Now I can "sing a higher F than ever before." The high F is what makes "Der Holle Rache."

In Emma's enthusiasm, I have had one of the little mp-3 player ear buds jammed unexpectedly into my ear as we were driving down the road. "Listen to this part, Mom!". The marrow of my bones has been displaced with the notes from "Der Holle Rache". I suspect that even the very walls of our house are vibrating with the music of "Der Holle Rache" and will soon come tumbling down, Jericho-style.

This all goes to establishing background for what I am about to tell you. Several weeks ago I dropped Emma off at the orthodontist's office, and I went to the garden center at Lowe's, all by myself. I was completely relaxed, or so I thought. As I was checking out, I was startled by the sound of--you guessed it--"Der Holle Rache". I gasped, then exclaimed, "OH!" to the cashier.

"Are you OK?" he asked, noticing the panic-stricken look on my face.

I could see that he thought I might go postal any second, so I hurried to explain that my daughter was at the orthodontist and that she played that aria all the time and that therefore it took me by surprise because my first thought was that she was here at Lowe's and not at the orthodontist after all and how was I to know that someone would come up behind me who had "Der Holle Rasche" as a ringtone on their cellphone? He nodded his head knowingly. I tried to smile reassuringly. I hoped that I wasn't blinking too fast. I scooped up my plants and hurried out the door--keeping a sharp lookout for the nice men with the little white straitjackets.

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