It must be obvious from this site that I am a big fan of Die Zauberflöte. And I really like many of Mozart’s other operas (Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail to name a couple). But along side these, my “desert island” collection would include lots of Beethoven.
Mozart was a major influence on Beethoven. Beethoven traveled to Vienna during the period Mar.-May, 1787 to study with Mozart (but was called back to Bonn when his mother fell ill). He had great respect for Mozart. In 1796 Beethoven wrote in a letter “I have always counted myself amongst the greatest admirers of Mozart, and shall remain so until my last breath”.
Beethoven wrote a number of variations based on themes from Mozart operas. He considered Die Zauberflöte to be Mozart’s best.
In 1796, Beethoven wrote 12 Variations for Piano & Cello in F major on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen”, Op. 66. Here are variations one and two.
In 1801 Beethoven wrote 7 Variations for Piano & Cello in E flat major on the duet “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen”, WoO 46. Here is the first variation.
These performances are from a recording of Beethoven Cello and Piano music with Pablo Casals and Rudolf Serkin, Sony CD SM2K 58985.
The quote above is taken from The Beethoven Compendium, ISBN 0-500-27871-1