Music and Dance

As a thoughtful mothers’ day present, my daughter treated me to an enchanting evening of music and dance by candlelight last night. My weary soul soaked up every moment of the captivating performance.

From the instant I stepped inside the classic inner Melbourne Astor theatre, I was overcome with emotion. This wasn’t the first time I had attended this Art Deco style Melbourne landmark venue. I had been inside the building once before.

My memories transported me back in time to 1981, when I was just 14 years old. I had only recently migrated to Australia. I was staying over at my friend Daniela’s place in Carlton. Daniela, a migrant child like me, had relocated to Melbourne with her family from Uruguay, a few months after I had moved here with mine from Finland.

Two lost little girls, trying their best to fit in, to learn a new language, to understand a new culture. Both with loving parents, but parents who were occupied with the challenges of making a new life for themselves in a new foreign land.

Daniela’s father understood this and treated us two young ladies to an unforgettable evening. Giddy with excitement, we dressed up in our finest of Cinderella style dresses. I had never experienced anything like it before. Daniela’s father, dressed in a dashing suit himself, offered me one of his arms, as he extended the other to his daughter.

The three of us entered the Chapel Street theatre side-by-side. I felt amazement, wonderment, and marvel as I took in the building’s soft ambience.

That evening I attended my first ever opera performance. I was fully captivated by this form of storytelling through song. The range and vulnerability of the human voice without microphones, expressed pure emotion to me. The music, played by the orchestra, completely live, was magical. What did it matter to me that I didn’t understand the language, I felt it inside of me.

Each time I have driven past the theatre during the past over 40 years, it has evoked powerful happy images of that long ago awe-inspiring evening in my mind. But never have I been inside it since.

The minutes tick by steadily, unchanging, and yet the days seem to pass faster as we get older. How is it possible that on this occasion it wasn’t me, it wasn’t even my daughter, but it was my granddaughter, who was the child.

We take our seats inside the grand old candlelit theatre. A hush falls over the audience, sipping glasses of sparkling wine. Soon I can feel the power of music and dance transporting me to another world.

The Invictus Springs Quartet bring Prince Siegfried’s love for the Swan Queen Odette alive and fill us with reverence and wonder. We watch the ballet dancers move in magical unison to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I close my eyes during the Sleeping Beauty Waltz and let the music wash over me. I smile during the light-hearted and melodious March of the Nutcrackers.

All three of us, each a different generation, are just as mesmerized by Tchaikovsky’s glorious tale in music as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker Suite come alive in front of our eyes.

Maybe some 40 years from now, my granddaughter will visit The Astor Theatre and tell the story of the time she went there as a little girl.   

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hanna says:

    What a wonderfull memory 💛. Thank you for your stories 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome! Thank you for reading and for commenting. It means a lot!


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