Mozart v Rogers & Hammerstein

Charles 5 Comments

I was at a funeral for a much loved gentleman last week – he wasn’t into opera at all, but had heard Mozart on The Shawshank Redemption and loved it. He was a great believer in daring to dream. The whole room was surprised when we played an excerpt from the Marriage of Figaro as the curtains closed. ( Sull’aria, Che soave zeffiretto – find Renee Flemming on YouTube for a pure version)

We listened to the aria, then I read these words from the film script (Red narrating after the song in Shawshank Redemption)

“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singin’ about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singin’ about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away. And for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free.”

We concluded: ‘When you are in a grey place, when the colour leaves your world as you lose someone so precious and you feel trapped in your grief, wondering how this pain of your aching hearts can possibly ease…. hold on to the fact that you now carry them permanently inside your hearts, memories and dreams. Talk about those dreams, remember those happy memories and for the briefest of moments – every now and then you will be free.’

As a young man he had dreamed of having his own little boat. When he finally got his boat he named it ‘Happy Talk’ and that’s the song he chose to have playing as we all left.

“You’ve got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream… how you gonna make a dream come true?”

Posted by Evelyn


  1. Charles

    That sounds like a fulfilling funeral, one that did its job.

    Mozart plus women’s voices in harmony – yes, that is a kind of soaring freedom, a transcendence. Powerful moment in the film. Sublime moment in the opera.

  2. Charles

    Love it! The quote from Shawshank Redemption (one of my favourite films) is genius. The funeral theme of ‘being freed’ or ‘setting someone free’ has long appealed to me. But how true that we also have to set ourselves free from grief.

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