“You can’t play under pressure,” the lowest-of-the-low — the player I call “Monostatos” — whispered in my ear as we stood on the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall. I had been invited often weekly to ‘practice’ on this stage, and the sounds of die zauberflote soared even throughout the building when I did. Mozart, Bach, Neilsen, Khatchaturian, Mahler were my usual contributions — at times playing violin as well as flute concertos. But Monostatos, as usual, was not being truthful. What he meant to say was that I was surrounded by adversaries who managed to control almost every area of my life. Monostatos himself led the cadre of players who crawled out of the woodwork to make strange statements and even odder requests. This could only be described as a very bizarre experience.
But Monostatos had miscalculated. I had learned long ago to observe the behavior of people when they heard die zauberflote for the first time. That had happened over a year earlier, in this case. Monostatos’ reaction had been especially interesting. He lay in wait, as it were, and then attempted to falsely criticize me. I could have told him then that, ‘well, this sound is perfect, so I can do whatever I want,” but I bit back those words. Instead, I observed. And I waited for die zauberflote to do what Wolf had promised in the opera long ago — to stop evil in its tracks and use everything for good. Miraculously, as I hope you will see, that is what has happened…:-)