In the end of 2018 I had the honor to take part of the Educational Activities by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in Lisbon.

It was a co-production between FCG, Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth and Fundación Albéniz – Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía with the support of ENOA and the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme. And so it happened at FCG the project: “Era uma vez… A Flauta Mágica!” (There was a time… The Magic Flute!).

It was based on Die Zauberflöte by W.A. Mozart and included also music by Portuguese composer Ana Seara. Three singers and a pianist gave life to this famous opera and created absolutely delicious moments. André Henriques, Marco Alves do Santos, Inês Mesquita and me had great fun during rehearsals directed by the wonderful co-director Roxana Haines. It was a really enchanting interpretation job, and at the same time challenging. There were intense days where we created big cooperation between us.

As it was a project whose focus is classical music for children all performances took place at a nice schedule time to promote a cultural weekend in family. Mornings and afternoons during two days.

We welcomed many children who had the opportunity to also create a bird mask in a short manual-work atelier that preceded the show. After that we made them enter at the venue where it was going to take place the interactive performance. We were already performing since they came in with radiant smiles and grabbing their parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents to sit quickly on one of those colorful pillows.

The concept was to create proximity with the audience, through the setting and the music and so came the idea to present these concerts in a room with no stage where we all were at the same level as the audience, kids and grownups, who were seated on those pillows distributed on the floor all around the space. Our mission was to interact with everybody. To make them be involved in some tasks we proposed. And get the total silence when needed.

This is the magic of performing arts, especially when we are talking about participative concerts.

Among funny moments, surprise or even scary moments we were graced with laughs, audible exclamations and spontaneous reactions that brought us the most fulfilling sense of accomplishment after four performances. We felt we left beautiful memories on those who visited at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

And many weeks after we received a message in our cellphones that was a picture. The image showed a car rearview mirror – somewhere in Lisbon – where we could see hung up the bird mask the kids got the chance to create before our performances. It is so good to leave an imprint wherever we go…

It is wonderful to realize we as artists have that beautiful opportunity to reach different age groups and share this passion for classical music. It is indeed  approachable for children when you have back a wonderful creative team and a production such as these from Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

by Marina Pacheco

[photo of the concert’s poster]