On September 30, 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's last opera, The Magic Flute, premiered at an opera house in Vienna. September 30 might be said to be the birthday of The Magic Flute, and 2006 marked two and a half centuries since the birth of Mozart himself. For movie and music lovers, Mozart's 250th birthday was recognized with more than just candles and cake. It also inspired a few movies based on one of his most iconic operas.
What's The Magic Flute?
The Magic Flute is a coming-of-age story about a boy, Taomino, who must go on a quest in order to be with the girl that he loves, Pamina. The opera is filled with delightfully absurd details, including a fight with a dragon, a sidekick who claims to be a bird catcher (but sometimes falls prey to his quarry) and a healthy dose of dancing animals.
Saying Happy Birthday
In the year that commemorated Mozart's 250th birthday, director Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, As You Like It, Thor) released an updated version of The Magic Flute set in WWI. In this adaptation of the story, Taomino is a soldier who must go behind enemy lines in order to retrieve his lost love.
Two years later, Kevin Sullivan (Anne of Green Gables, The Piano Man's Daughter) directed another tribute film titled Magic Flute Diaries, which is set two years prior, during the year of Mozart's 250th birthday. The story follows an actor who accepts the lead of Taomino in a production of the opera that will take place in Mozart's hometown of Salzburg. When the actor falls in love with the woman cast opposite him to play Pamina, more and more strange similarities between his life and the opera begin to unfold.
More ways to celebrate
Though Mozart's big 2-5-0 party might be over, that doesn't mean you can't have your own celebration next time September 30 rolls around. You could rent one of the movies inspired by The Magic Flute, or better yet, see if any local theaters are putting on the opera in honor of the day. If all else fails, you can always check out a Mozart CD from your local library. Listening to his compositions is a much better tribute than any rendition of "Happy Birthday to You."