The magic flute, Opera by W. A. Mozart
Love was undoubtedly the driving force behind most of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's lifework, and he found a number of musical and thematic expressions for this high ideal. The Magic Flute, a fantasy opera debuted on 30 September 1791 at the suburban Theater auf der Wieden outside Vienna, is among the last and greatest examples thereof. This season, the classic comes to Teatro Costanzi in Rome.
The Magic Flute (or Die Zauberflöte in German) was part of a series of collaborations between Mozart and theatre producer Emanuel Schikaneder, who also served as librettist, director, and cast member in the original production. The two put together a seemingly simple fairy-tale plot centred around a brave prince rescuing a damsel in distress. The symbolism, however, makes The Magic Flute a much deeper and richer piece of art.
Both Mozart and Schikaneder were Freemasons, and they included a host of references to the secret society's teachings in their opera. The mysterious priest Sarastro kidnaps Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. The angry Queen sends Prince Tamino after them. Tamino and Pamina instantly fall in love, and Sarastro reveals to them the elevated ideals of his community, which mirror real-life Masonic legend.
Tamino, Pamina, and Tamino's sidekick Papageno undergo a series of challenges to join Sarastro's community. While the young couple succeeds, Papageno fails spectacularly but is still rewarded with finding his perfect match, Papagena. The Queen of the Night attempts to break the lovers apart but is cast away into eternal darkness. Love and light triumph.
Working with densely symbolic material that had to be presented enjoyably for a mass audience, Mozart crafted a true musical masterpiece. The Magic Flute's score is exemplary of the composer's effortless, playful, melodic style. The cast includes many different types of voices, from virtuosos to buffos, and Mozart combines their different skill sets in fantastic ensembles and arias that range from the entertaining to jaw-dropping.
The Magic Flute is perhaps most famous for the coloratura arias of the Queen of the Night, particularly her vengeful 'Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen' from Act II. Mozart's varied and evocative score will make you laugh and revere his genius at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma this season!