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Mozart
Die Zauberflote
Synopsis
Introduction
Act 1 Scene I
Act 1 Scene II
Act 1 Scene III
Act 2 Scene I
Act 2 Scene II
Act 2 Scene III
Act 2 Scene IV
Act 2 Scene V
Act 2 Scene VI
Act 2 Scene VII
Act 2 Scene VIII
Act 2 Scene IX
Act 2 Scene X
Zauberflöte, Die (The Magic Flute)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Singspiel in two acts. 1791.
  • Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.
  • First performance at the Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna, on 30th September 1791.
CHARACTERS
Sarastro, priest of the sun bass
Tamino, a Javanese prince tenor
Sprecher (Speaker), an elderly priest speaking part
First Priest speaking part
Second Priest tenor
Third Priest bass
Queen of the Night coloratura soprano
Pamina, her daughter soprano
Three Ladies, in the service of the Queen two sopranos & mezzo-soprano
Three Boys trebles or sopranos
Monostatos, a Moor tenor
Papageno, a bird-catcher baritone
Papagena soprano
Two Men in Armour tenor & bass
Three Slaves speaking parts

Tamino tries to escape from a great serpent that is pursuing him. He faints and the Three Ladies dispose of the serpent, vying to stay behind and watch over him, while the others tell the Queen of what has happened. They leave and the bird-catcher Papageno makes his entrance, claiming, when Tamino comes to his senses, to have killed the serpent. The Ladies return and punish Papageno's lies by putting a padlock on his mouth. They give Tamino a portrait of a beautiful girl, by which he is immediately fascinated. This is Pamina, abducted, he is told, by a wicked magician. The Queen of the Night makes her terrifying appearance, and tells Tamino that he must rescue Pamina, her daughter. The Ladies unlock Papageno's mouth and give Tamino a magic flute and Papageno silver bells, protection in their quest. In Sarastro's palace, Pamina has escaped but been caught again by Monostatos. Papageno and Monostatos confront each other, to their mutual terror. Papageno frees Pamina. Tamino, meanwhile, is confronted by three temples and, rebuffed at two of the temple doors, is questioned by the Speaker, an old priest from the Temple of Wisdom, who assures him that he will be re-united with Pamina. He plays his magic flute, to which animals emerge dancing. Papageno, captured by Monostatos, plays his bells, setting Monostatos and his slaves dancing and allowing their escape. The act ends with the entry of Sarastro and his priests, a prelude to the purification by ordeal of Tamino. The second act brings the ordeals through which Tamino, and to a limited extent Papageno, will pass. The first is of silence. Food is brought by the Three Boys, but Pamina's entrance has to be greeted in silence, to her distress. The Boys later prevent her killing herself with her mother's dagger. Tamino passes through the ordeals of fire and water, protected by the magic flute. Papageno has been tantalised by the occasional appearance of an old woman, claiming to be his bride. He is about to kill himself, when relief comes, through the Three Boys, when he makes use of the magic bells to bring a transformed young Papagena to his side. Monostatos and the Three Ladies, with their Queen, are still plotting against Sarastro, but are finally defeated by the power of light, with Tamino and Pamina now together in enlightenment.

The last of Mozart's operas to be staged in his lifetime, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) makes considerable use of masonic ritual and ideas. These are clear from the beginning of the overture, with its solemn ritual chords and use of ceremonial trombones. The opera that follows is of remarkable variety, mixing the comic and the heroic, the first found in Papageno, with his first entry, Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (I am the bird-catcher) and his mixture of cowardice and peasant common sense, a stock character in contemporary German comedy. The heroic is represented by Tamino, in love at first sight with the portrait of Pamina in his Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (This picture is enchantingly beautiful). The Queen of the Night establishes her full coloratura power in her first appearance, O zittre nicht (O tremble not) and her vitriolic later Der Hölle Rache (Hell's vengeance). This is in contrast to the obverse character, Sarastro, with his calm and wise magnanimity, shown in its profundity in O Isis und Osiris (O Isis and Osiris) and In diesen heil'gen Hallen (In these sacred halls). Pamina's duet with Papageno on the happiness of love, Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen (Those who feel love), won immediate popularity with audiences. Her own anguish is expressed in Ach, ich fühl's (Ah, I feel it has vanished), when greeted by Tamino‚Äôs silence. There is much else that must be familiar in a score of prodigal invention.

 


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