SFOpera - A Flying Start: Thoughts from a Child Spirit

A Flying Start: Thoughts from a Child Spirit

It was the Opening Night of The Magic Flute and we were about to go on. As I climbed into my bicycle (that’s what they called our flying machines), a lump grew in my throat. My legs started to shake and as a stage hand clipped in my harness, my stomach lurched.  My heart started to beat faster as we ascended. By the time we got to the top, it was fluttering with fright.

Our cue sounded and we jerked sideways as the cables pulled us on. Calm down I told myself as I plastered a smile on my nervous face. The lights hit me and for a second, I was blinded. Fighting the urge to look down, I gazed over the vast audience. I’m not singing just yet, I thought thankfully. As we moved across the stage, the song of the three ladies rang out and I relaxed a little and smiled wider.

I sighed happily, this was one of my favorite pieces. As Tamino and Papageno started to sing, our bicycles stopped and we froze in midair above the stage.  Even though I wasn’t supposed to look down, I could feel the height.

Is it just me or is the air thinner up here?

I breathed in deeply and let the music flow over me. The familiar sounds were comforting like a warm hug and I slowly untensed. As we started to float off I realized I wasn’t scared anymore. I felt like I was on top of the world.

When our next scene rolled around, I was ready. The stage lights dimmed, I heard the soft whirring sound that meant our engines were on. I took a deep breath. I swayed with the music and as our part finally came, the sound rose up through me. I started to sing. On my sides, I could feel my fellow spirits (Raphael and Michael) singing as well, our voices making beautiful harmonies. I held out my arms in the well-practiced moves which we had been trained to do for weeks.

As Tamino started to sing underneath us, I slowly eased into a stern look. I had to for the sake of the opera (but I was really impressed with Tamino’s skill). We started to sing again, building up until the last quavering notes pierced the opera house. I felt us moving back offstage and I was grinning. It had been perfect.

I am 11 years old, I sing opera, and I can fly.

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