The Magic Flute
Overview
 
The Magic Flute is an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 to a German libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...

. The work is in the form of a Singspiel
Singspiel
A Singspiel is a form of German-language music drama, now regarded as a genre of opera...

, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue.
The opera was premiered in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 on 30 September 1791, at the suburban Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden
Theater auf der Wieden
The Theater auf der Wieden, also called the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden or the Wiednertheater, was a theater located in the then-suburban Wieden district of Vienna in the late 18th century...

. Mozart conducted the orchestra, Schikaneder himself played Papageno, while the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer
Josepha Weber
Josepha Weber was a German soprano of the classical era...

.

On the reception of the opera, Mozart scholar Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon has carried out a multiple career: he was a co-founder of Vanguard Records as well as a music producer, and later became a writer on music.-Career in the recording industry:...

 writes:
The success of The Magic Flute lifted the spirits of its composer, who had fallen ill while in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 a few weeks before.
Encyclopedia
The Magic Flute is an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 to a German libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...

. The work is in the form of a Singspiel
Singspiel
A Singspiel is a form of German-language music drama, now regarded as a genre of opera...

, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue.

Premiere and reception

The opera was premiered in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 on 30 September 1791, at the suburban Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden
Theater auf der Wieden
The Theater auf der Wieden, also called the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden or the Wiednertheater, was a theater located in the then-suburban Wieden district of Vienna in the late 18th century...

. Mozart conducted the orchestra, Schikaneder himself played Papageno, while the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer
Josepha Weber
Josepha Weber was a German soprano of the classical era...

.

On the reception of the opera, Mozart scholar Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon has carried out a multiple career: he was a co-founder of Vanguard Records as well as a music producer, and later became a writer on music.-Career in the recording industry:...

 writes:
The success of The Magic Flute lifted the spirits of its composer, who had fallen ill while in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 a few weeks before. Solomon continues:
The opera celebrated its 100th performance in November 1792. Mozart did not have the pleasure of witnessing this milestone, having died of his illness on 5 December 1791.

Since its premiere, The Magic Flute has always been one of the most beloved works in the operatic repertoire, and is presently the most frequently performed opera world wide.

Background

The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 elements; Schikaneder and Mozart were Masons and lodge brothers (see: Mozart and Freemasonry
Mozart and Freemasonry
For the last seven years of his life Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a Mason. The Masonic order played an important role in his life and work.-Mozart's lodges:...

). The opera is also influenced by Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 philosophy, and can be regarded as an allegory advocating enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories...

. The Queen of the Night represents a dangerous form of obscurantism
Obscurantism
Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known. There are two, common, historical and intellectual, denotations: 1) restricting knowledge—opposition to the spread of knowledge, a policy of withholding knowledge from the...

 or, according to some, the anti-Masonic Empress Maria Theresa. Her antagonist Sarastro symbolises the enlightened sovereign who rules according to principles based on reason, wisdom, and nature. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos through religious superstition to rationalistic enlightenment, by means of trial (Tamino) and error (Papageno), ultimately to make "the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods". ("Dann ist die Erd' ein Himmelreich, und Sterbliche den Göttern gleich." This couplet is sung in the finales to both acts.)

The opera was the culmination of a period of increasing involvement by Mozart with Schikaneder's theatrical troupe, which since 1789 had been the resident company at the Theater auf der Wieden. Mozart was a close friend of one of the singer-composers of the troupe, tenor Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack was a composer and tenor of the Classical era, a close friend of Mozart and the first performer of the role of Tamino in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.- Early life :...

 (the first Tamino), and had contributed to the compositions of the troupe, which were often collaboratively written. Mozart's participation increased with his contributions to the 1790 collaborative opera Der Stein der Weisen (The Philosopher's Stone), including the duet ("Nun liebes Weibchen", K. 625/592a) and perhaps other passages. Like The Magic Flute, Der Stein der Weisen was a fairy-tale opera and can be considered a kind of precursor; it employed much the same cast in similar roles.

Mozart evidently wrote keeping in mind the skills of the singers intended for the premiere, which included both virtuosi and ordinary comic actors, asked to sing for the occasion. Thus, the vocal lines for Papageno and Monostatos are often stated first in the strings so the singer can find his pitch, and are frequently doubled by instruments. In contrast, Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer, who premiered the role of the Queen of the Night, evidently needed little such help: this role is famous for its difficulty. In ensembles, Mozart skillfully combined voices of different ability levels.

A particularly demanding aria is the Queen of the Night's "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
"Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" is the second aria sung by a coloratura soprano role Queen of the Night in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute .-The aria:...

" ("The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart"), which reaches a high F6 (see Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave...

), rare in opera. At the low end, the part of Sarastro includes a conspicuous F in a few locations.

On 28 December 1791, 3½ weeks after Mozart's death, his widow Constanze offered to send a manuscript score of The Magic Flute to the electoral court in Bonn. Nikolaus Simrock published this text in the first full-score edition (Bonn, 1814), claiming that it was "in accordance with Mozart's own wishes" (Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung was a German-language periodical published in the 19th century. Comini has called it "the foremost German-language musical periodical of its time"...

, 13 September 1815).

Roles

Role Voice type
Voice type
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types...

Premiere cast, 30 September 1791
(conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Tamino tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack was a composer and tenor of the Classical era, a close friend of Mozart and the first performer of the role of Tamino in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.- Early life :...

Papageno baritone
Baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...

Pamina soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Anna Gottlieb
Anna Gottlieb
Maria Anna Josepha Francisca Gottlieb was an Austrian soprano. She was the first Pamina in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute....

The Queen of the Night coloratura soprano
Coloratura soprano
A coloratura soprano is a type of operatic soprano who specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs and leaps. The term coloratura refers to the elaborate ornamentation of a melody, which is a typical component of the music written for this voice...

Josepha Hofer
Josepha Weber
Josepha Weber was a German soprano of the classical era...

Sarastro bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Franz Xaver Gerl
Franz Xaver Gerl
Franz Xaver Gerl was a bass singer and composer of the classical era. He sang the role of Sarastro in the premiere of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.-Life:...

Three ladies 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

Mlle Klöpfer, Mlle Hofmann, Mme Elisabeth Schack
Monostatos tenor Johann Joseph Nouseul
Johann Joseph Nouseul
Johann Joseph Nouseul was an actor, singer, and theater manager of the 18th and early 19th centuries. He is remembered for having premiered the role of Monostatos in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.-Career:...

Three boys treble
Boy soprano
A boy soprano is a young male singer with an unchanged voice in the soprano range. Although a treble, or choirboy, may also be considered to be a boy soprano, the more colloquial term boy soprano is generally only used for boys who sing, perform, or record as soloists, and who may not necessarily...

, alto
Alto
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

, mezzo-soprano
Anna Schikaneder; Anselm Handelgruber; Franz Anton Maurer
Speaker of the temple bass-baritone
Bass-baritone
A bass-baritone is a high-lying bass or low-lying "classical" baritone voice type which shares certain qualities with the true baritone voice. The term arose in the late 19th century to describe the particular type of voice required to sing three Wagnerian roles: the Dutchman in Der fliegende...

Herr Winter
Three priests tenor, 2 basses Johann Michael Kistler, Urban Schikaneder, Herr Moll
Papagena soprano Barbara Gerl
Two armoured men tenor, bass Johann Michael Kistler, Herr Moll
Three slaves 2 tenors, bass Karl Ludwig Giesecke
Karl Ludwig Giesecke
Karl Ludwig Giesecke was a German actor, librettist, polar explorer and mineralogist. In his youth he was called Johann Georg Metzler, in his later career in Ireland he was Sir Charles Lewis Giesecke.-Early life:His father was Johann Georg Metzler, a Protestant who worked as a tailor in Augsburg...

, Herr Frasel, Herr Starke
Priests, women, people, slaves, chorus


The names of the performers at the premiere are taken from a preserved playbill for this performance (at right), which does not give full names; "Hr." = Herr, Mr.; "Mad." = Madame, Mrs.; "Mlle." = Mademoiselle, Miss.

While the female roles in the opera are assigned to different voice types, the playbill for the premiere performance referred to all of the female singers as "sopranos". The casting of the roles relies on the actual pitch range of the part.

These singers perform with an orchestra consisting of two flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s (one doubling on piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

), two oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, two clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

s (doubling basset horns), two bassoon
Bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...

s, two horns
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, two trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, three trombone
Trombone
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate...

s (alto, tenor, and bass), timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

 and strings
String section
The string section is the largest body of the standard orchestra and consists of bowed string instruments of the violin family.It normally comprises five sections: the first violins, the second violins, the violas, the cellos, and the double basses...

. The work also requires a four-part chorus
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 for several numbers (notably the finales of each act); and a glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

 to perform the music of Papageno's magic bells.

Synopsis

Note: Many modern productions of the opera may edit the spoken dialogue and omit sections that today may be considered sexist and/or racist.

Act 1

Scene 1

After the Overture, we are introduced to Tamino, a handsome prince who is lost in a distant land and is being pursued by a serpent (quartet: "Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe!"). He faints from fatigue and three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, appear and kill the serpent. They find the unconscious prince extremely attractive, and each tries to convince the other two to leave, in order to be alone with him. After arguing, they decide that it is best that they all leave together.

Tamino recovers, and Papageno enters, arrayed entirely in the plumage of birds. He sings of his job as a bird catcher and the fact that he is longing for a wife, or, at least, a girlfriend (aria: "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja"). Papageno tells Tamino that he, Papageno, strangled the serpent with his bare hands. At this moment, the three ladies appear and punish his lie by placing a padlock over his mouth. They tell Tamino that they were responsible for saving him, and show to the prince a portrait of a young maiden, Pamina, with whom he falls instantly in love (aria: "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön is an aria from the 1791 opera Die Zauberflöte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The aria comes from Act I, scene I of the opera...

" / "This image is enchantingly lovely").

The Queen of the Night now appears. She tells Tamino that the girl in the portrait, Pamina, is her daughter, who has been captured by her enemy, Sarastro. She demands that Tamino go to Sarastro's temple and rescue Pamina, promising that he can marry Pamina in return. (Recitative and aria: "O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn
O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn
O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn is the first aria performed by the Queen of the Night character in Mozart's singspiel The Magic Flute...

" / "Oh, tremble not, my dear son! You are innocent, wise, pious".) After the Queen leaves, the ladies give Tamino a magic flute that can change men's hearts, remove the padlock from Papageno, and present him with a chime of bells to protect him. Papageno is ordered to accompany Tamino on his rescue-mission, and together they set forth. (Quintet: "Hm hm hm hm".) The ladies introduce three child-spirits, who will guide Tamino and Papageno to Sarastro's temple.

Scene 2: A room in Sarastro's palace

Pamina is dragged in by Sarastro's moorish slave Monostatos. (Trio: "Du feines Täubchen, nur herein!".) Papageno, sent ahead by Tamino to help find Pamina, enters. Monostatos and Papageno are each terrified by the other's strange appearance and both flee the stage. But Papageno soon returns and announces to Pamina that her mother has sent Tamino to her aid. Pamina rejoices to hear that Tamino is in love with her, and then offers sympathy and hope to Papageno, who longs for a wife to love. Together they sing an ode to love (duet: "Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen"), then depart.

Scene 3: Grove and entrance to the temples

The three child-spirits lead Tamino to Sarastro's temple, promising that if he remains faithful and steadfast, he will succeed in rescuing Pamina. As Tamino reaches the temple, he is denied entrance at two of its three gates, by invisible voices singing "Go back!". But when he tries the third gate, an old priest appears and gradually convinces him that Sarastro is benevolent, not evil, and that women's opinions should not be taken seriously. After the priest leaves him, Tamino plays his magic flute in hopes of summoning Pamina and Papageno. The tones summon a group of magically tamed beasts, which listen in rapture to Tamino's music. Then Tamino hears Papageno's pipes, which Papageno, offstage, is blowing in response to the sound of Tamino's flute. Ecstatic at the thought of meeting Pamina, Tamino hurries off.

Papageno appears with Pamina, following the distant sound of Tamino's flute. The two are suddenly captured by Monostatos and his slaves. Papageno then works an enchantment on the slaves using his magic bells, and they dance, mesmerised by the music of the bells, off the stage.

Papageno now hears the approach of Sarastro and his large retinue. He is frightened and asks Pamina what they should say. She answers that they must tell the truth. Sarastro and his followers enter.

Overcome by Sarastro's majesty, Pamina falls at his feet and confesses that she was trying to escape because Monostatos had demanded her love. Sarastro receives her kindly and tells her that he will not force her inclinations, but cannot give her freedom nor return her to her mother, because she must be guided by a man.

Monostatos then enters with Tamino captive. The two lovers see one another for the first time and instantly embrace, causing indignation among Sarastro's followers. Monostatos tries to point the finger of blame at Tamino. Sarastro, however, punishes Monostatos for his lustful intentions toward Pamina, and leads Tamino and Papageno into the temple of ordeal. The Brotherhood send them off in a glorious chorus.

Act 2

Scene 1: A grove of palms

The council of priests of Isis and Osiris, headed by Sarastro, enters to the sound of a solemn march. They determine that Tamino and Pamina shall be married, and that Tamino will succeed Sarastro as leader, if he succeeds in passing the priests' trials. Sarastro explains that the Queen of the Night has attempted to bewilder the people with superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

 and groundless fears. He then sings a prayer to the gods Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 and Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

, asking them to protect Tamino and Pamina and to take them into their heavenly dwelling place should they die in the course of their trials (Aria: "O Isis und Osiris").

Scene 2: The courtyard of the temple of Ordeal

Tamino and Papageno are led into the temple. A priest cautions Tamino that this is his last chance to turn back, but Tamino boldly promises that he will undergo every trial to win his Pamina. Papageno declines the trials at first, saying that he doesn't care much about wisdom or enlightenment, and only wants food, wine, and a pretty woman. The priest tells Papageno that Sarastro may have a woman for him if he undergoes the trials, and that she is called Papagena. Reluctantly, Papageno agrees to undergo the trials.

The first test requires that Tamino and Papageno remain silent while being tempted and threatened by women. (Short duet by two priests: "Bewahret euch von Weibertücken") The three ladies appear, and tempt them to speak. (Quintet: "Wie, wie, wie") Papageno cannot resist answering the ladies, but Tamino remains aloof, speaking only to Papageno, and then only to tell him to be quiet. Seeing that Tamino will not speak to them, the ladies withdraw in confusion.

One priest congratulates Tamino for successfully passing the first test. Another priest scolds Papageno for his weakness, and tells him that he will never know the enlightened bliss of the gods. Papageno replies that there are a great many people in the world like himself, unenlightened but happy, and asks why he must undergo tests if Sarastro already has a woman selected for him. The priest says that it is the only way.

Scene 3: A garden, Pamina asleep

Monostatos approaches and gazes upon Pamina with rapture. (Aria: "Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden") He is about to kiss her sleeping face, when the Queen of the Night appears and frightens him away. She wakes Pamina and gives her a dagger, ordering her to kill Sarastro with it. (Aria: "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
"Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" is the second aria sung by a coloratura soprano role Queen of the Night in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute .-The aria:...

" / "Hell's vengeance boileth in mine heart"). After she leaves, Monostatos returns and tries to force Pamina's love by threatening to reveal the murder-plot, but Sarastro enters and drives him off. Sarastro forgives and comforts Pamina (Aria: "In diesen heil'gen Hallen").

Scene 4: A hall in the temple of Ordeal

Tamino and Papageno must again suffer the test of silence, a more difficult variation this time: An old woman enters and offers Papageno a drink of water. Although it is forbidden, he engages her in conversation and asks her how old she is. She replies that she is eighteen years and two minutes old. Papageno bursts into laughter and teases her that she must have a boyfriend. She replies that she does and that his name is Papageno. Then she disappears without telling him her name. Pamina enters and tries to speak with Tamino. Since Tamino silently refuses to answer, Pamina believes he no longer loves her. (Aria: "Ach, ich fühl's, es ist verschwunden") She leaves in despair.

Scene 5: The pyramids

The Priests of the Temple celebrate Tamino's successes so far, and predict that he will succeed and become worthy of their order (Chorus: "O Isis und Osiris"). Sarastro separates Pamina and Tamino. (Trio: Sarastro, Pamina, Tamino – "Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn?") They exit and Papageno enters. Papageno plays his magic bells and sings a ditty about his desire for a wife. (Aria, Papageno: "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen"). The elderly woman reappears and demands that he pledge engagement to her, warning that if he doesn't, he will remain alone forever. Reluctantly, Papageno promises to love her faithfully. She immediately transforms into the young and pretty Papagena. As Papageno rushes to embrace her, however, the priests drive her away with thunder and lightning.

Scene 6: An open country
The three child-spirits see Pamina attempting to commit suicide because she believes Tamino has abandoned her. They restrain her and take away her dagger, promising that she will see him soon. (Quartet: "Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden").

Scene 7: A hall or room with two doors: one leading to a chamber of trial by water and the other to a cavern of fire.

Two men in armour lead Tamino onstage. They recite, in unison, one of the formal creeds of the goddess Isis, promising enlightenment to those who successfully overcome the fear of death ("Der, welcher wandert diese Strasse voll Beschwerden"). This recitation takes the musical form of a Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 chorale prelude
Chorale prelude
In music, a chorale prelude is a short liturgical composition for organ using a chorale tune as its basis. It was a predominant style of the German Baroque era and reached its culmination in the works of J.S. Bach, who wrote 46 examples of the form in his Orgelbüchlein.-Function:The liturgical...

, to the tune of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

 Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein , BWV 2, is a church cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 18 June 1724...

(Oh God, look down from heaven). Tamino declares he is ready to be tested, but Pamina, offstage, calls for him to wait for her. The men in armour assure Tamino that the trial by silence is over and he is free to speak with her. She enters, and exchanges loving words with Tamino ("Tamino mein, o welch ein Glück!"). United in harmony, they enter the trial-caverns together. Protected by the music of the magic flute, they pass unscathed through fire and water. Offstage, the priests hail their triumph.

Papageno, having given up hope of winning Papagena, tries to hang himself (Aria/Quartet: "Papagena! Papagena! Papagena!"), but at the last minute the three child-spirits appear and remind him that he should use his magic bells to summon her, instead. Papagena reenters, and the happy couple is united, stuttering at first in astonishment (Duet: "Pa … pa … pa ...").

The traitorous Monostatos appears with the Queen of the Night and her ladies, plotting to destroy the temple ("Nur stille, stille"), but they are magically cast out into eternal night.

The scene now changes to the entrance of the chief temple, where Sarastro bids the young lovers welcome and unites them. The final chorus sings the praises of Tamino and Pamina in enduring their trials and gives thanks to the gods.
The opera may sometimes be divided into three acts in which case, the third act typically begins with scene 8. Even in the two-act version, the scenes in Act 2 are sometimes rearranged, with the Sarastro-Tamino-Pamina trio occurring earlier and Sarastro's prayer occurring later.

Noted highlights

Act 1
  • "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja" (The birdcatcher am I) – Papageno, Scene 1
  • "O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn
    O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn
    O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn is the first aria performed by the Queen of the Night character in Mozart's singspiel The Magic Flute...

    " (Oh, tremble not, my beloved son) – The Queen of the Night, Scene 1
  • "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
    Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
    Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön is an aria from the 1791 opera Die Zauberflöte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The aria comes from Act I, scene I of the opera...

    " (This image is enchantingly beautiful) – Tamino, Scene 1
  • "Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton" (How strong is thy magic tone) – Tamino, Finale

Act 2
  • "O Isis und Osiris" (O Isis and Osiris) – Sarastro in, Scene 1
  • "Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden" (All feel the joys of love) – Monostatos, Scene 3
  • "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
    Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
    "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" is the second aria sung by a coloratura soprano role Queen of the Night in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute .-The aria:...

    " (Hell's vengeance boils in my heart) – The Queen of the Night, Scene 3
  • "In diesen heil'gen Hallen" (Within these sacred halls) – Sarastro, Scene 3
  • "Ach, ich fühl's, es ist verschwunden" (Ah, I feel it, it is vanished) – Pamina, Scene 4
  • "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" (A girl or a woman) – Papageno, Scene 5
  • "Pa–, pa–, pa–" – Papageno and Papagena, Scene 10

Film versions

  • Trollflöjten
    The Magic Flute (1975 film)
    The Magic Flute is Ingmar Bergman's 1975 film version of Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte. It was intended as a television production and was first shown on Swedish television but was followed by a cinema release later that year. The film was shown at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, but was not...

    (1975), a Swedish-language film directed by Ingmar Bergman
    Ingmar Bergman
    Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

  • An animated film by Rens Groot, dating from 1992 or earlier, set to a complete recording in the original German
  • The Magic Flute (1995), a traditional animation
    Traditional animation
    Traditional animation, is an animation technique where each frame is drawn by hand...

     film directed by Valeriy Ugarov for the series Operavox, set to a half-hour, English-language version
  • The Magic Flute
    The Magic Flute (2006 film)
    The Magic Flute is Kenneth Branagh's English-language film version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's singspiel Die Zauberflöte. The film is a co-production between France & the UK, produced by Idéale Audience and in association with UK's The Peter Moores Foundation.In November 2005, it was announced...

    (2006), an English version set against a background inspired by World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    , directed by Kenneth Branagh
    Kenneth Branagh
    Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from Northern Ireland. He is best known for directing and starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including Henry V , Much Ado About Nothing , Hamlet Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from...


Sequels in literature and theatre

There are two sequels named The Magic Flute's Second Part: the first a fragment by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, intended to set in music by Paul Wranitzky
Paul Wranitzky
Pavel Vranický was a Moravian classical composer. His brother, Antonín, was also a composer.-Life:...

, the second is an opera: The Magic Flute's Second Part
The Magic Flute's Second Part
The Magic Flute's Second Part. The Labyrinth or The Struggle with the Elements , is a "heroic-comic" opera in two acts composed in 1798 by Peter von Winter to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken...

. The Labyrinth or The Struggle with the Elements
), a Singspiel in two acts composed in 1798 by Peter von Winter to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.

Art

  • Eduardo Paolozzi
    Eduardo Paolozzi
    Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, KBE, RA , was a Scottish sculptor and artist. He was a major figure in the international art sphere, while, working on his own interpretation and vision of the world. Paolozzi investigated how we can fit into the modern world to resemble our fragmented civilization...

    , a screenprint illustrating the arrival of “Queen of the Night″ in Act II, Magic Flute II, 1994.

Films

  • The Smurfs and the Magic Flute
    The Smurfs and the Magic Flute
    The Smurfs and the Magic Flute is a 1976 Belgian animated film starring the Smurfs, directed by their creator, Peyo. Though the film premiered in 1976 in Belgium, and 1979 in the United Kingdom, an English language version was not released in the United States until 1983, in the wake of the...

    ,
    a 1983 children's movie (French-language version originally released in 1976) loosely based on The Magic Flute

Books

  • John Updike
    John Updike
    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

    , A children's book based on The Magic Flute, 1962.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Many critics have noted a feminist perspective in her writing. Her first child, David R...

    , Night's Daughter, a novel based on The Magic Flute, 1985. It sets the story in an Atlantis-like world with human-animal hybrid creatures. Bradley enthusiastically agrees with Bergman that Sarastro is Pamina's father.
  • Barbara Trapido
    Barbara Trapido
    Barbara Trapido, born 1941 as Barbara Schuddeboom, is a British novelist. Born in Cape Town and growing up in Durban she studied at the University of Natal gaining a BA in 1963 before emigrating to London. After many years teaching she became a full time writer in 1970.Trapido has published six...

    , Temples of Delight, 1990. A novel which, though set in contemporary England, takes its structure very loosely from The Magic Flute. Characters in the novel are analogous to Pamina, Tamino, Papageno and Sarastro although the novel strays heavily from the original plot with the 'Pamina' character ultimately rejecting 'Tamino' in favour of a romantic relationship with 'Sarastro'.
  • Cameron Dokey
    Cameron Dokey
    Cameron Dokey is an American author. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her three cats and her husband. She has a collection of over 50 old sci-fi and horror films.Cameron was born in the Central Valley of California...

    , Sunlight and Shadow, (part of the Once Upon A Time series), 2004, a retelling of The Magic Flute for teen readers; Dokey's novel also states that Sarastro is Pamina's father.
  • Yoshitaka Amano
    Yoshitaka Amano
    is a Japanese artist. He began his career as an animator and has become known for his illustrations for the anime Vampire Hunter D and for his character designs, image illustrations and title logo designs for the Final Fantasy video game series developed by Square Enix . His influences include...

    , Mateki: The Magic Flute, an adaptation of the opera illustrated by himself and retold using classic Japanese elements.
  • Eva Ibbotson
    Eva Ibbotson
    Eva Ibbotson was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for her award-winning children's books as well as her novels for adults - several of which have been successfully reissued for the young adult readership in recent years.-Personal life:Eva Ibbotson was born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner...

    , Magic Flutes, a teen romance period novel, centred around the Viennese opera, and the main performance of The Magic Flute
  • Stephen Fry
    Stephen Fry
    Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

     and Kenneth Branagh
    Kenneth Branagh
    Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from Northern Ireland. He is best known for directing and starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including Henry V , Much Ado About Nothing , Hamlet Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from...

    , The Magic Flute, the published screenplay of the 2006 film version

Adaptations

  • Arctic Magic Flute
    Arctic Magic Flute
    Arctic Magic Flute is an adaptation, sung in English, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte by Ryan Conarro, Joyce Parry Moore and William Todd Hunt, setting the action in northern Alaska at an unspecified post-apocalyptic future date....

    is an English-language adaptation of the opera, set in rural Alaska.
  • Pamina Devi is the Cambodia
    Cambodia
    Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

    n classical dance
    Khmer classical dance
    The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is a form of performing arts established in the royal courts of Cambodia for the purpose of entertainment as well as ceremonial propitiation...

     adaptation of The Magic Flute. However, it is not entirely based on the same plot and includes elements foreign to the original.
  • Pioneering guitarist and composer Fernando Sor
    Fernando Sor
    Josep Ferran Sorts i Muntades was a Spanish classical guitarist and composer. While he is best known for his guitar compositions, he also composed music for a wide range of genres, including opera, orchestra, string quartet, piano, voice and ballet...

     transcribed "Six Airs from The Magic Flute", Op. 19, for solo guitar around 1820–1821.
  • Beethoven
    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

     wrote a sets of variations for violoncello and piano for two numbers from the opera. His twelve variations in F major on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" is catalogued as Op. 66 and his seven variations in E-flat major on "Bei Männern" is catalogued as WoO 46.
  • "Away with Melancholy" was a popular duet first published in London in the early 1790's, and reprinted in America from 1797 on. The music is adapted from "Die Zauberflöte" Act I finale. 
  • Flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal
    Jean-Pierre Rampal
    Jean-Pierre Louis Rampal was a French flautist. He has been personally "credited with returning to the flute the popularity as a solo classical instrument it had not held since the 18th century."-Early years:...

     made a transcription of three arias from the opera.

External links

  • Die Zauberflöte. Facsimile of Mozart's autograph
  • Opera Guide, Synopsis, libretto, highlights
  • Opera in a nutshell" Soundfiles (MIDI)
  • Libretto and English translation from Aria-Database.com
  • Frontispiece of the Libretto on the Occasion of the First Performance in the Year 1791 from internetloge.org, sung by Edda Moser
    Edda Moser
    Edda Moser is a German soprano. She was particularly well-known for her interpretations of music by Mozart. Her 1973 recital LP "Virtuoso Arias by W. A...

    , sung by Joan Sutherland
    Joan Sutherland
    Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s....

    , sung by Beverly Sills
    Beverly Sills
    Beverly Sills was an American operatic soprano whose peak career was between the 1950s and 1970s. In her prime she was the only real rival to Joan Sutherland as the leading bel canto stylist...

    , sung by Diana Damrau
    Diana Damrau
    Diana Damrau is a German lyric coloratura soprano of the operatic stage.-Biography:Diana Damrau was born in 1971 in Günzburg, Bavaria, Germany, and began her operatic studies with Carmen Hanganu at the Musikhochschule in Würzburg. After graduating from music conservatory she worked in Salzburg...

  • * Brief programme notes from recent Opera Gold production, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • San Diego OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles: Mozart's The Magic Flute, UC-TV and San Diego Opera
    San Diego Opera
    The San Diego Opera Association is a professional opera company located in the city of San Diego, California and is a member of OPERA America. It was founded in 1950 to present productions by San Francisco Opera in the San Diego area...

    The Magic Flute opera
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