Steph and Lynette / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anna "Nancy" Storace
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anna "Nancy" Storace
Before I tell our story I'll begin by telling you that Steph and I believe ourselves to be the reincarnations of two very famous musicians of the 18th century--Steph having been Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and I being the then famous British singer/actress, Anna "Nancy" Storace. Nancy was Mozart's original Susanna in his comic opera "The Marriage of Figaro" and it is believed by many noted Mozart historians that they had a very short-lived, but deep and passionate love affair, ending only because Nancy was forced to return to England in early 1787. Her return to England set off a series of life-shattering and tragic events in Mozart's life that led to his early death, at age 35, in December of 1791.
Steph and I met online in May of 1999, and following my divorce in the Spring of 2000, I went to Denver, Colorado where she was living at the time. At the end of the summer she decided to return with me to Oklahoma, where I was in graduate school earning a master's degree in vocal performance & pedagogy, and where my three children lived with their father. Many things have transpired in our lives since then, as we've been together for nearly nine years. We've experienced much joy and much heartache and sorrow, much of it a direct result of our relationship and who we claim to have been in our past lives. We were featured in a 2006 documentary film by Rhombus Media, directed by Larry Weinstein, entitled "Mozartballs" that has been viewed by hundreds of thousands all over Canada, Western Europe, Great Britain, Asia, and Australia. Some people think we're nuts and others believe our story. That's neither here nor there to us. We know what we know, and we care nothing about whether people believe us or not. Our purpose in coming back and finding one another isn't so that we can stroke our egos about being two very famous historical characters, but to learn and grow and perfect our souls, and it is to that end and purpose that we have dedicated ourselves and our relationship.
As a child, Steph was a musical prodigy and composed both folk and classical music and later apprenticed as the assistant conductor of a major metropolitan orchestra in Southern California. We currently reside in Oklahoma where I'm a voice instructor and Steph works from home as a freelance writer, web developer, and composer.
Steph and Lynette in Mozartballs
Our story begins long before we met. In fact, as many of you have probably gathered, our story began long before either of us were born. We are what some describe/term as "twin souls". The term denotes exactly what it says. Our souls are like fraternal twins--both coming from the same "egg" and then at a moment in time, splitting off to form two separate entities. Since that moment we have been working to get back to one another, for when we split, neither one could be or feel complete without the other. Before I met Steph, from as far back as I can remember, even as a small child, I felt alone and out of place. I felt like a twin who had been separated from the other twin. In fact, I asked my mother several times if I hadn't been a twin and even if perhaps I wasn't separated at birth from my twin and adopted by she and Dad.
One of my favorite stories is of a memory I have of when I was a very small child, about three. I was sitting on the floor of our house in my footie pajamas listening to some music on the stereo. My parents, although not professional musicians, were great appreciators of music and there was music in our house constantly. I grew up listening to classical music--Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Brahms. etc. On this day, it so-happened that mother had put on a recording that had a movement of one of Mozart's piano concertos on it, and as I sat in the floor listening to it, I began to cry. When Mother saw that I was crying she inquired as to why and I pointed towards the stereo and said, "I have to find him!"
"Find who?" she asked, "Mozart?"
I nodded my head affirmatively, "Yes, I have to find that Mozzart man!"
How I knew at such a young age that I was listening to a composition by Mozart, I'll never know. I don't think my mother grasped the significance of this little event. She told me the story a number of years later, when I was a young woman and then kind of smiled and said, "Funny thing that Mozart has always been your favorite composer."
Physical comparison of Lynette and Nancy at similar ages.
I learned very early in life that honesty was not the best policy--at least where my deepest thoughts, questions, and emotions were concerned. I learned early that if I was honest about how I really felt, what I really thought, and my questions about life, that I was met with rejection and emotional abandonment. So I learned to be a pleaser. I learned how to make my mother and father smile and how to make them proud of their little girl, all the while tamping down my questions, feelings, and emotions to the point that by the time I was an adult I was a ticking time bomb, ready to explode. My aunt warned my father that one day at least one of us, (my brother, sister, or I), was going to rebel due to the stifling, restrictive, controlling, and dictatorial atmosphere in our home. She was right.
I mastered the art of playing emotional and mental hide-and-seek by the time I was five years old and learned very quickly what I could and couldn't share with my parents. I pretended to be the sweet, compliant, and agreeable child that they wanted me to be because I knew that only then did I gain the love and acceptance from them that I so desperately needed. So when my devoutly Christian parents would talk to me of God's unconditional love, I really had no foundations for understanding what that meant. Unconditional love was not liberally demonstrated in our home so I didn't have much of an example, only words. Like a pet parrot, I would listen to their words and ideas and I quickly learned how to regurgitate those words and ideas back to them. That always got positive results. But whenever I had an original thought, idea, or question that didn't fit into their black-and-white-Pleasantville world, I was scolded and put down as if I were a terrible person to even entertain such ideas or thoughts.
I grew up hearing my mother sing, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so", and I always wanted to ask her what made the Bible so special? Why was it better or more divine than for instance, the Koran? How did she KNOW that the Bible was God's word? Did God tell her that personally? Or was that something that she was taught growing up and just accepted as the truth because everyone told her it was the truth? And what about the things in our lives--thoughts, feelings, ideas, that didn't agree with the Bible? Where did they come from? What about, for instance, the very real sense that I had all through my life that I had been here on this planet before--that I had lived in a different time and place? What about the pictures that I had in my head since I was a small child of events, people, and places in the past, some so vivid and detailed that they seemed that they had taken place yesterday?
I didn't know how to define what I experienced or what name to give it. I thought of reincarnation as something that only Hindus and Buddhists believed. I never took it seriously because it wasn't something that was a part of the belief system in which I was raised. And because I didn't feel safe to ask questions, I tamped these very real experiences down inside of me along with my unexpressed emotions, thoughts, and questions. When my parents would praise me for being such a good girl, I would think to myself, "But I'm NOT good! I'm very bad! If you only KNEW what I really think, and how I REALLY feel, you wouldn't love me!"
"Only let them see what they want to see" was my life's motto, "for only then will you be acceptable to them." So I grew up believing that if I was going to find love, acceptance, and happiness, that I had to be whatever it was that people wanted me to be. I had to make everyone else happy, even if it meant sacrificing my own desires, my own happiness, even if it meant adhering to and confessing to a religion, a belief system, and way of life that grew increasingly more confining and uncomfortable for me. And deep down inside of me I cried out for release! I knew that there was more...that there was someone. There was someone out there searching for me as fervently as I was searching for them. In the midst of a crisis point in my life, during my junior year in college, I ran out into an empty field which was right next door to my on-campus apartment, and threw my arms up towards the sky. I cried out, "Where are you? Why can't I find you? I know you're out there! Please find me!", and I fell into a bawling heap on the ground. After about half-an-hour I walked back to my apartment, and one of my roommates, who was a piano major, was sitting on the couch listening to the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20, in D minor on the stereo. She was going to play it for a competition. I sat by her on the couch and the tears returned. When she asked me why I was crying, I told her that I had this overwhelming sense of loss that I couldn't explain as if there was someone out there who I had to find, and who, in turn, was trying to find me. She hugged me and let me cry.
I couldn't tell her that the someone was Mozart.
Shortly after Christmas of 1997 I talked my husband into getting a computer. The internet opened up the entire world to me. I could sit in the comfort of my home and search for and research any topic that I wished. And of course, one of the first internet searches that I conducted was on Mozart. I found several good Mozart websites, but the one that towered above the rest was one called, "The Mozart Project". It had a wealth of information, plus links to other Mozart and Mozart related sites. I always checked the new links out, whenever I found a new one. It was about nine months after our last move in May of 1999--I had just returned from taking the kids to school and gotten myself a cup of tea when I decided to sit down at my computer and check to see if there were any new links on the Mozart Project site. When I clicked on the page I noticed that he had added several new links since I had been there last, but the one that jumped out at me was one that said, "Mozart's Own Website", and was advertised as a site owned and operated by the Maestro himself! I thought it sounded like fun and decided to check it out.
When I clicked on the link it took me to a scrumptiously gorgeous website, done in hues of royal blue, a very 18th century-looking font and a distinctly Rococo graphic design. Contained within were a wealth of pictures and information, all told in first person, in the voice of Mozart. It was, indeed, "Mozart's" website. I combed through the pages, taking in every word and picture, feeling myself drawn in to the fantasy of believing that Mozart was actually the one who designed and put it all together. I read all of the biographies and looked at all the pictures, and then I found the link to the guest book and clicked on it. I decided to leave Herr Mozart as short, simple message. I signed the guestbook as guest number nine, and simply said, "Ich liebe dich, Herr Mozart." Not expecting that anything would come of it, but enjoying the fantasy of telling Mozart that I loved him in German, I clicked the button and posted my message.
The next morning when I went to check my e-mail, in it was a message from none other than W A Mozart. I clicked on it eagerly and read the very simple message contained within, "Und ich liebe dich, meine gnaedige Frau." (And I love YOU, my gracious Lady.) I was quite frankly surprised and tickled to have heard back from him, so I decided to take it a step further and grace him with a letter. In the letter I told him about myself and where I was from--how I have always been a lover of his music since I was a small child, the fact that I was a wife and mother of three children bound for graduate school in the fall. I told him that I had sung the roles of Zerlina and Despina and that I fancied myself a "Mozart" soprano, and how I was thrilled to have found that he was "alive" and well in the late 20th century. That very evening I received a reply from him, a very lengthy and gracious letter describing his delight at my correspondence and his hopes that we might continue to converse with one another via this new and modern contraption called the "computer". His "voice" was astounding--it was entirely authentic as if Mozart really was the one who had written this letter. I was immediately sucked into the fantasy and excitement and had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't really talking to Mozart, but to someone who was playing Mozart. I quickly typed another letter to him and pressed the send button.
Thus launched an online relationship between "Mozart" and myself that within a week seemed like we had been corresponding with one another for months, perhaps years. Mozart and I developed a fast, close, and growing friendship through our correspondence. He confessed to me that he had never allowed a "fan" in, as he had me, and that he felt as if he had known me all of his life. I too, felt the same about him. I "knew" things about him, things that the average student of Mozart wouldn't know. The relationship grew very personal and very intimate very quickly, so quickly that it frightened both of us. What had started out as fantasy and a bit of fun, had escalated into something very deep and meaningful to both of us, and even though I tried to tell myself over and over again that I was simply conversing with someone who was portraying Mozart, albeit very authentically and convincingly, deep in my heart I knew that there was something going on that I couldn't explain. It was something bigger than myself and within a few weeks, it was quite clear that "Mozart" felt every bit as overwhelmed and awed by our relationship as I. Several times I tried to cut it off, believing that it was going too far, and that I needed to end it, but I couldn't end it. (Later I learned that he felt the very same way as I.) I would lay awake at night, trying to make sense of what was happening. Then one night I remembered the story that my mother told me about when I was a small child, of how I had pointed at the stereo and told her that I had to find Mozart.
"Could it be?" I wondered. I frightened myself with my own thoughts. "This is crazy!" I thought, trying to put myself off as someone who was simply too caught up in the fantasy of it all. But in my heart I knew. I knew that what I was dealing with was beyond fantasy--this was real. I sensed that I was talking to the Maestro himself, and that something much larger than me was in control of this whole thing. I cringed at what it would mean for me, for my way of life, for my beliefs--my faith, my values, for my children, and for my family. I rolled over and tried not to think of it any further and resolved that I had to cut it off. I couldn't, however, for it was if I was driven by destiny to continue on in my relationship with this person. So we continued our online correspondence.
Physical comparison of Steph and Mozart.
Several months later I flew out to California where Steph lived at the time. She hosted an 18th century soiree where I sang a mini-recital dressed as Anna Storace. Steph was dressed as Mozart with other guests dressed as various famous "dead people", and literary characters. It was on this weekend that I met Steph's friend, Karma, (who I now consider a dear friend as well), and several other people who have come to play an important role in my life. This was really one of the first in a series of events that have been played out throughout and have defined our relationship. However, this particular event was, for me, the point of no return. I knew that my life was about to take an exciting and tumultuous turn and that there was nothing I could do to change it. It was also then that Steph kissed me in the hallway just in front of the bedroom--a very similar kiss to the one that I received only recently in what was the bedroom of Constanze and Wolfgang Mozart in the Figarohaus in Vienna.
On the Monday following the weekend, Steph took off of work in order that we might have some time alone together. (Steph was partnered at the time, but the relationship was in trouble--actually it always had been in trouble--just wasn't a good match.) I have very pleasant memories of our day together. We had lunch in an outdoor cafe, (Lisa, Steph's partner, joined us, uninvited), and Steph and I ended up having to sit across from one another at the the table. Later, Steph confessed to me that behind her mirrored sunglasses, when Lisa couldn't see, she would stare at me. She stared at my mouth and had fantasies about kissing me. After lunch we dropped Lisa off at the penthouse, and Steph, bound and determined that we would have some time alone together, took me downtown. We walked through the downtown shops, antique stores, and thrift stores that lined the quaint and artistic streets of this eccentric, coastal Southern California town. At one point Steph stopped and looking into my eyes said, "You're such pleasant company! Will you go steady with me?" I don't remember my response. I probably blushed. My whole being urged for her to take me into her arms and kiss me right then and there.
The next day, I flew home to Oklahoma. On the airplane I held the queue ribbon that Steph had sprayed with the cologne that he wore when he dressed as Mozart at the soiree, tightly in my hand. As I stared blankly out the window of the airplane, tears started to stream from my eyes. I held the ribbon up to my nose, taking in his essence and trying to relive that moment in the hallway when he took my face in his hands, drew my mouth towards his face and kissed me and then very flirtatiously poked the black satin ribbon into my exposed cleavage. I began to weep. I wept for the years that I had wasted with the wrong person. I wept for my children. I wept for my husband. I wept for my marriage. I wept for myself. I wept for the love that I thought I could never have. I wept at the thought of leaving the only one I had ever really loved behind, once again. My heart was breaking and I couldn't stop it from breaking. "What am I going to do? Where do we go from here? We can't just be friends now," I thought to myself.
Little did I know that I was about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life.