This past weekend, I had the rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose. Imagine touching artifacts over 5,000 years old, deep in the Archaeologists' cupboards. I could sense the magic and history right beneath my blue-latexed fingertips. A High Priest could have blessed these! Or a Pharaoh commissioned them!
|"High Priestess of the Sun" for some unidentified religion|
(I wanted better photos but the pool party hubbub uphill
kept interrupting my reverie. I stopped after 3 attempts.)
Antique kaftan from Morocco. Ventilo jacket underneath. Feathered mask.
If you're familiar with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) with its Egyptian symbolism, you'll understand why my thoughts drifted to its music. This was the first opera my parents ever took me to when I was about 8 years old. (The tenor, Tamino, was a family friend.) Back then, my enjoyment centered on the comical bird man, Papageno. The Masonic rituals and Egyptian imagery were completely obscured until adulthood.
I think Die Zauberflöte's "Queen of the Night" aria is one of the most virtuosic in Opera. This aria is so difficult that I've heard it done both heart-stoppingly and horrendously at the Met Opera! It definitely counts as one of our favorites. To understand how much, we lip synched Lucia Popp's version at our wedding reception -- several champagne glasses in -- to our startled guests (and equally startled DJ)! Note, this was way before Flash Mobs. Sigh, if only Lucia Popp's crystal clear voice were really mine.
By contrast, I recently stumbled upon Diana Damrau's rendition at Covent Garden via YouTube. Wow, THIS is the frightening Queen of the Night -- the terrible Anti-Enlightenment! Here, the orchestration and delivery feel more Wagnerian than Mozartian, but I believe we get the point better!
Oh dear, see how I've rambled, carried away by the beauty of Opera. Let me circle back to the Sun Gods and the Egyptian Museum. Here is proof, by iPhone, of some artifacts I got to handle. I didn't just dream it up for the sake of a blog post. (And I hope I don't get the Archaeology Docents in trouble.)
|ancient carnelian jewelry|
|cedar head rest|
to protect regal coiffures during sleep
Not what Dr. Seuss had in mind
Are any of you fascinated by Archaeology? Do you enjoy the Opera?