My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

celebrating Wolfgang

Today’s plan was to take the #22 tram past the Castle to the Strahov Monastery, which has a famous library – but it’s cold, wet and gloomy, zero visibility, not a day for a long excursion. Yesterday was very cold – I’ve not been lucky with the weather in Prague, at least outside – this comfortable flat is as cosy as can be. Have spent some time this morning instead playing on the computer, Facebook, YouTube, reading newspapers – what joy to be able to catch Jon Stewart in beautiful downtown Prague! Saw his sequence on “open-carrying” – Americans with visible pistols in holsters on their hips as they go about their daily business, like the Wild West. From here, it looks like a country of crazy people. But then I guess, in their own ways, all countries are crazy. Except of course Canada.

Well, no – Canada elected Stephen Harper twice, so we’re crazy too.

Several newspaper headlines brought true joy flooding through my heart. “Salad dressing good for the brain, study shows.” Loved that. And the second, even more important: Vatican makes peace with the Beatles.” Omigod, that is such a relief, I cannot tell you, I was so so worried that after John’s totally unforgiveable “We’re more important than Jesus,” the church would never forgive. But they are bigger than that. As we all knew.
Last night, I stopped at the box office of the State Theatre to tell the man there, whom I’d informed about my missing tickets and who’d said he might be able to help, that I’d found them. He held up a piece of paper – he had found my booking and located my seat numbers. I told him I was ashamed of having been such a bother, how grateful I was and that I’d blog about him. So here it is: the man who works in the box office of the State Theatre in Prague is a terrific guy. Especially in comparison with so many surly people in this former Soviet state, who have no idea what the word “service” means. Many thanks for your kindness, sir.
And then, as expected, I saw a stunning opera in the most elegant, ornate theatre – more delicate than a jewel-box, a perfectly-painted oval with gold decoration, endless cupids, chandeliers, the sides all small boxes, the ceiling stunningly painted – intimate and sparkling. When the lights dimmed, the room still glowed with light because of all the gold on the ceiling, walls and boxes.
The Czech singers were superb, though the production was a little fusty, and the translation was unintentionally hilarious at times. Donna Anna, who has just nearly been raped by the Don who has then killed her father, sings heart-wrenchingly to the audience, a line which was translated as “A multitude of feelings are tossed in my soul.” I will keep that line, as it perfectly describes most of the days of my life. Tossed like a salad. And salad dressing is good for the mind.
But mostly, the great beauty of theatre and talent of singers aside, the evening was about the sublime Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – like Van Gogh, another tortured genius who died tragically young and under-appreciated. No one, I notice, has made a movie about Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote one masterpiece after another and had 21 children. There’s not enough pain and conflict. Poor Wolfie, who became a professional musician at the age of 7 and was only 34 or 35 when he died – way too much drama. Incredible, what he accomplished in that short time. I tried to imagine what opening night in 1787 must have been like, lords and ladies in their wigs and satin sitting in the perfect little theatre, watching the 31-year old composer conduct, that gorgeous music flowing out.
Walked home in the bitter cold, full of music, a multitude of feelings tossing in my soul.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.