An Opera Night for the Lincolns

Mozart

The Lincolns settled in their seats for a night of entertainment-a night at the opera! (apologies to the Marx Brothers). It was March 15, 1865. Abraham Lincoln had one month left to live (of course, he didn’t know that).  With President and Mrs. Lincoln was Miss Clara Harris. Little did she know the role she would be playing a month later (at Ford’s Theatre with the Lincolns). General James Wilson was also a guest.  On the bill that March night was Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” It was the first performance of the opera in Washington. Apparently Lincoln enjoyed the performance. For some reason, Mary Lincoln wanted to leave the theatre before the opera’s final act finished. Oh, if she had only done so at Ford’s Theatre a month in the future! Lincoln refused to leave before the opera was over-remarking something about finishing a job once it has been started. Interestingly enough, prior to March 15th, Lincoln had pretty much been sick in bed. He even held a meeting from inside his bedroom March 14th. However, he apparently felt well enough to venture away from the White House and spend a few hours in relaxation. The opera was a big hit judging by the reaction of the audience that evening. The applause was hearty and ongoing. I’d like to think that Lincoln delighted in Mozart’s wonderful opera as well. It was a rare moment of quality time for him and Mary. How tragic would be their theatre activity a month later on April 14, 1865.

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One Response to “An Opera Night for the Lincolns”

  1. Karrie says:

    Very interesting! Did Mrs. Lincoln not like the opera? And with what Mr. Lincoln said, he may have not liked it either, but just thought it right to finish it. And plus since he had been sick, it probably was nice to be out (I know how that feels.) But then knowing how good a man he was, he might have really liked the opera because it showcased a lot of great morals during story. He was probably trying to teach his wife a lesson by saying she should finish what she started! Hah!! The Magic Flute was a different kind of opera than most though (and in full, very long.) Very nice article, and I again learned some new things about Mr. Lincoln and his trip to see The Magic Flute! I always learn new things when I read your posts! Nice portrait of the great composer himself too. :) Thanks.

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