Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina are in love. The Queen of the Night and priest Sarastro are enemies. Bird catcher Papageno wants a girlfriend. Love prevails.
Prince Tamino has been asked by the Queen of the Night to save her daughter, Princess Pamina. She has been imprisoned in a temple by Sarastro, the high priest of a fraternal order. Tamino and the bird catcher Papageno, set out on a journey to rescue her. Three ladies, attendants to the Queen of the Night, give them a magic flute and magic bells to help them through the trials and they are led to Sarastro’s temple by three child spirits. Tamino finds out that Sarastro is kind and wise. He accepts to go through a series of tests to prove himself worthy of Pamina. The Queen of the Night is furious. In the end Tamino and Pamina are united and Papageno finds his other half, Papagena.
"The Magic Flute"
Opera in 2 acts
Sung in German
About 2 hours 30 min + interval
A rough, rocky landscape
Prince Tamino is chased by a serpent in un unknown land. He faints and the three ladies, attendants to the Queen of the Night, come to save him. They kill the serpent and are enchanted by Tamino’s appearance.
The three ladies have left when Tamino wakes up. Papageno appears, describing his life as a bird catcher. He then takes credit for killing the serpent with his bare hands which is, of course, a lie. The three ladies return and instead of giving Papgeno wine, cake and figs, he is given water, a stone and a padlock for his mouth to keep him from lying. They also leave a portarit of Princess Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, who has been kidnapped by Sarastro. Tamino instantly falls in love.
The three ladies tell Tamino that Pamina has been kidnapped by Sarastro and needs to be rescued. He promises to save her. The Queen of the Night enters and promises Tamino that Pamina will be his if he rescues her. The three ladies remove Papageno’s padlock and remind him that he is not allowed to lie. Tamino is given a magic flute that can turn sorrow into joy. They give Papageno magic bells for protection and tell him to go with Tamino. Three child spirits appear to guide and lead the way to Sarastro’s temple.
A room in Sarastro’s palace
Monostatos, one of Sarastro’s slaves, is pursuing Pamina, ordering the other slaves to chain her and leave. Papageno appears, unaware of the dramatic situation. Monostatos and Papageno simultaneously see each other and are both scared of the other’s appearance. They run off but Papageno soon returns. He tells Pamina that her mother, the Queen of the Night, has sent Tamino to save her and that he is in love with her. Pamina and Papageno sing about the power of love.
A grove in front of a temple
The child spirits guide Tamino to Sarastro’s temple informing him that if he keeps constant, patient and discreet he will be able to rescue Pamina. Tamino tries to enter the left hand passage but is stopped by voices within telling him to turn around. He tries the passage to the right and the same thing happens. He tries the middle passage and is met by a priest, the Speaker. He lets Tamino know that he should not trust the Queen of the Night and that in fact Sarastro is kind. Tamino starts playing the flute and the forest and all its animals are enchanted by the music of the magic flute. Pamina and Papageno hear Tamino’s flute and set off to find him. Monostatos stops and detains them. Papageno remembers the magic chimes and starts to play. Monostatos and all the other slaves are spellbound, dancing and singing to the beautiful music. Pamina and Papageno hear the sound of Sarastro’s entourage. Sarastro enters and Pamina falls at his feet admitting that she tried to flee from Monostatos. Sarastro tells her that her mother is not to be trusted and that Pamina should be guided by a man.
Monostatos brings in Tamino. Pamina and Tamino passionately embrace. Monostatos tries to explain himself but is punished by Sarastro for his lascivious behaviour. Sarastro tells Tamino and Papageno that they must undergo the trials of wisdom. The priests declare that only then will mortals become Gods.
A grove of palms
Sarastro’s priests enter to the sound of a march. He declares that Tamino must undergo trials that will enlighten him. He asks that the Gods Isis and Osiris keep Pamina and Tamino safe.
The courtyard of the Temple of Ordeal
Two priests lead Tamino and Papageno to their first trial. The priests warn them of the dangers ahead and instructs them to keep silent. The three ladies come to sacare Tamino and Papgeno into talking. Papageno cannot keep quiet. The ladies decide to leave when they realise that Tamino will not speak.
Pamina is sleeping. Monostatos sees his chance and is just about to lay down when the Queen of the night appears and he flees in fear. Pamin wakes up and explains to her mother that Tamino has joined Sarastro’s brotherhood. The Queen of the Night displays a dagger demanding that Pamina kills Sarastro with it or else she will disown her. Pamina is torn between the love for her mother and the love for Tamino. The queen of the night leaves and Monostatos once again appears. He tries to force Pamina to love him by threatening her. Sarastro suddenly appears and Monostatos is sent away. Sarastro lets Pamina know that cruelty is not allowed in these holy halls.
A hall in the Temple of Ordeal
Tamino and Papageno are escorted by priests who remind them that they must be silent. Papageno cannot stay quiet because of his urge to complain about being thirsty. An old lady brings him water and he asks if she’s got a boyfriend. The old lady replies that his name is Papageno. She leaves and the three child spirits sent forth by Sarastro bring food and the magic flute and chimes. Tamino begins to play the flute and Pamina arrives. She tries to talk to him but the remains silent. She completely loses hope when she asks if he doesn’t love her anymore and he still doesn’t reply. She leaves without hope.
The priests are happy with Tamino’s progress so far and pray that he will continue to become worthy of their brotherhood. Pamina is brought in and Sarastro explain to Tamino and Pamina that they must say goodbye to each other because Tamino will endure difficult trials ahead (The trio “ Soll ich dich…” with Pamina, Tamino and Sarastro is sometimes performed earlier in act 2). They all exit and Papageno enters having been granted a glass of wine from the priests. He expresses his desire for a girl or a little wife. The old lady once again appears and warns him that he will be put in prison if he doesn’t marry her straight away. Papageno agrees, but only until he has found someone better. The old lady is transformed into a young Papagena. Papageno is overjoyed and wants to embrace Papagena but the priests stop him, letting him know that the trials are not yet completed.
Several scene changes, however no interruptions in the music
A grove in front of a temple
The three child spirits greet the morning. Pamina is lovesick and is thinking of committing suicide. The child spirits observe Pamina and intervene to tell her that Tamino still loves her.
Outside the Temple of Ordeal
Tamino is led in by two armoured men. They explain that they who overcome fear will be enlightened. Tamino is ready for the trials ahead. Pamina’s voice is heard and Tamino is now allowed to speak to her. Pamina is determined to go through the trials together with Tamino and assures him that the magic flute will help them trough fire and water. After successfully completing the trials they are allowed to enter the temple.
A garden with a tree
Papageno is distraught because he thinks he’s lost Papagena. Therefore, he decides to hang himself. The three child spirits come to his aid. They encourage him to use the magic chimes. Papa geno has a go and Papagena appears. They are joined in bird like singing planning their future life together.
A rocky landscape outside the temple at night
Monostatos, the Queen of the Night and the three ladies plan to destroy Sarastro’s temple. The queen has also promised his daughter to Monostatos, which she now confirms. Fortunately, the intruders are magically thrown into the eternal light. Pamina and Tamino are praised for completing the ordeals set out to them. At daybreak Sarastro declares that daylight has triumphed over the night and that there is a new era of wisdom ahead.
Pamina – Soprano (lyric)
Princess, in love with Tamino, daughter of the Queen of the night
Tamino – Tenor (lyric)
Prince, in love with Pamina
Papageno – Baritone (lyric)
Bird catcher, wants to find a girlfriend
The Queen of the Night – Soprano (dramatic coloratura)
Mother to Pamina, enemies with Sarastro
Sarastro – bass (basso profondo)
High priest of the sun, enemies with the Queen of the Night
Monostatos – Tenor (Spieltenor)
A moor, chief of the slaves, Sarastro’s servant
Three ladies – Soprano, Soprano, Mezzo-soprano
Attendants to the Queen of the Night
Three child spirits – Treble, Alto, Mezzo-soprano
Children guiding Tamino and Papageno on their journey
Speaker of the Temple - Bass-baritone
An old priest, one of Sarastro’s men
Papagena – Soprano
Disguised as an old woman, wants to marry Papageno
Three priests – Bass, Tenor, Speaking role
Two armoured men – Tenor, Bass
Place of birth: Salzburg, Austria
Place of death: Vienna, Austria
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer widely known as one of the greatest composers of all time. He is the the archetype of the classical period together with his contemporaries Haydn and Beethoven. He was a versatile composer writing operas, symphonies, chamber music, piano works, concertos and much more. In his short life he wrote more than 600 works.
Mozart began playing the harpsichord at the age of three and started composing at the age of five. During his childhood he went on tour with his sister, who was also a child prodigy, and his father, Leopold, performing in Europe.
He married into the Weber family. Together with his wife Constanze they had six children of whom two survived infancy.
In 1781 Mozart moved from Salzburg to Vienna. The last 10 years of his life were very productive. His most popular operas; Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte were all written during this period. The three first are also known as the “Da Ponte” operas with reference to the librettist.
“What's even worse than a flute? - Two flutes!“
“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.“
Mozart had lots of pet animals and was very fond of scatological humour.
Most prominent operas
Bastien und Bastienne 1768
Lucio Silla 1772
La finta giardiniera 1774
Die Entführung aus dem Serail 1782
Der Schauspieldirektor 1786
Le nozze di Figaro 1786
Don Giovanni 1787
Così fan tutte 1789
Die Zauberflöte 1791
La clemenza di Tito 1791
Emanuel Schikaneder was a German playright, theatre manager, actor, singer, poet and librettist. Schikaneder played the role of Papageno when the opera first premiered. He often played the main role in the librettos he wrote. All in all, he wrote 56 librettos, Die Zauberflöte was his most successful opera in terms of standing the test of time.
2, 2, 2d2, 2 – 2, 2, 3, 0
timp, strings, keyed glockenspiel (celesta)
Mozart wrote Die Zauberflöte with only months left to live. It is one of the master pieces in the history of opera and it is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. The opera is written in the form of a Singspiel including both music and spoken dialogue.
Around the time of writing Die Zauberflöte, Mozart was in a difficult financial situation. He had no official commissions. Mozart’s friend, the librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, encouraged Mozart to start a new project with him, what was to become die Zauberflöte. During the time of writing the opera, Mozart received two commissions; A Requiem and the opera La Clemenza di Tito. It was to become his last major works.
Mozart conducted the premiere of Die Zauberflöte in Vienna in 1791 but his health was declining and two months later he died.
Today Die Zauberflöte is one of the top 5 most performed operas worldwide.
Aria - Der Vogelfänger bin ich Ja (Papageno)
Aria - Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (Tamino)
Aria - O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn (Queen of the Night)
Quintet - Hm! Hm! Hm! Hm! (Papageno, Tamino, Three ladies)
Duet - Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen (Pamina, Papageno)
Aria - O Isis und Osiris (Sarastro)
Aria - Der hölle Rache (Queen of the Night)
Aria - In diesen heil’gen Hallen (Sarastro)
Aria - Ach, ich fühls, es ist verschwunden (Pamina)
Aria -Papagena, Papagena, Papagena! (Papageno)
Duet - Pa, pa, pa (Papageno, Papagena)