Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

In the first performance of this fairy-tale opera, Mozart himself conducted, his sister-in-law played the Queen of the Night, and the librettist Emmanuel Schikaneder played Papageno. The form includes both song and spoken dialogue, and was originally written for a very specific cast. Pitch clues are written in for the comic actors who would sing...

In the first performance of this fairy-tale opera, Mozart himself conducted, his sister-in-law played the Queen of the Night, and the librettist Emmanuel Schikaneder played Papageno. The form includes both song and spoken dialogue, and was originally written for a very specific cast. Pitch clues are written in for the comic actors who would sing some parts, while the part of the Queen of the Night is of infamous difficulty.
Prince Tamino, fleeing a serpent in a foreign land, faints from fatigue. Three attendants of the Queen of the Night kill the serpent and vanish, until Papageno the bird catcher tries to take credit for their rescue. Poor feathery Papageno longs for a wife, but Tamino falls in love with a portrait of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. The Queen sends Tamino to the house of her enemy, Sarastro, to rescue Pamina. But Tamino becomes more and more convinced of Sarasto's benevolence, as he promises him Pamina's hand on the completion of a series of tasks. 
The judges, priests of Isis and Osiris, are proud and happy at Tamino's noble progress, but poor Papageno struggles along, wishing he could just have the wife Sarastro has promised him, without being tasked with silence in the face of temptation. The Queen of the Night plots to regain Tamino's favour, and her daughter's, who has fallen in love with Tamino and awaits Sarastro's blessing. But Sarastro is forgiving of their uncertainty, and Tamino and Pamina are married to general rejoicing. Papageno has met Papagena, a wrinkly old lady, but on promising reluctantly to love her faithfully, she is transformed into a pretty and youthful girl, who will finally be won by her feathery lover.
Tamino's journey is an allegory for enlightenment, for the progress of mankind from superstition to rationality.

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