Difference between revisions of "The Magic Flute"

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'''''The Magic Flute''''' (German '''''Die Zauberflöte''''') is a two-act ''singspiel'' (an [[opera]] with spoken text) written by [[Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]] in 1791, the last year of his life. Written in a popular style, to a [[German language|German]] text by Emanuel Schickaneder, it stands in contrast to the majority of his mature operas, which were written in Italian and contained relatively sophisticated music. After an enormously successful opening production at [[Vienna]]'s Theater auf der Wieden, it has since become one of the most frequently-performed operas throughout the world, and many of its arias and ensembles are familiar even to listeners who don't know their origin.
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'''''The Magic Flute''''' (German '''''Die Zauberflöte''''') is a two-act ''singspiel'' (an [[opera]] with spoken text) written by [[Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]] in 1791, the last year of his life. Composed in a popular style, to a [[German language|German]] text by Emanuel Schickaneder, it stands in contrast to the majority of Mozart's mature operas, which were written in Italian and contained relatively sophisticated music. After an enormously successful opening production at [[Vienna]]'s Theater auf der Wieden, it has since become one of the most frequently-performed operas throughout the world, and many of its arias and ensembles are familiar even to listeners who don't know their origin.
  
 
In this story heavy-laden with [[Freemasonry|Masonic]] symbolism, Tamino is a prince who finds himself lost in an enchanted forest, being chased by a dragon. After slaying the dragon, three fairies introduce him to the Queen of the Night. She asks Tamino to go on a mission to bring back her daughter Pamina, who has been kidnapped by Sarastro. After receiving two magical musical instruments from the Three Boys, Tamino goes with Papageno, a simple bird-catcher, and soon discovers that Sarastro is the leader of a wise brotherhood, with whom Pamina has been staying willingly. Tamino and Papageno undertake rites of initiation, while the Queen of the Night tries to convince Pamina to kill Sarastro. This plot fails, and both Tamino and Papageno pass the initiation, marrying Pamina and Papagena.
 
In this story heavy-laden with [[Freemasonry|Masonic]] symbolism, Tamino is a prince who finds himself lost in an enchanted forest, being chased by a dragon. After slaying the dragon, three fairies introduce him to the Queen of the Night. She asks Tamino to go on a mission to bring back her daughter Pamina, who has been kidnapped by Sarastro. After receiving two magical musical instruments from the Three Boys, Tamino goes with Papageno, a simple bird-catcher, and soon discovers that Sarastro is the leader of a wise brotherhood, with whom Pamina has been staying willingly. Tamino and Papageno undertake rites of initiation, while the Queen of the Night tries to convince Pamina to kill Sarastro. This plot fails, and both Tamino and Papageno pass the initiation, marrying Pamina and Papagena.
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==The Magic Flute and Freemasonry==
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An active Freemason who also composed several other works for Masonic gatherings, Mozart inserted much Masonic symbolism into the work's musical accompaniment. Foremost among these is the prevalence of the number three: the [[overture]] begins mysteriously with three slow [[chord (music)|chords]] separated by long pauses; the [[key (music)|key]] of the overture (and much of the opera) is E-flat major, which has three flats; there are three fairies who always sing together, as well as three boys who appear three times in the course of the story. Additionally, the [[orchestra]]tion contains a pair of a rather obscure instrument, the [[basset-horn]], which was considered a Masonic instrument and played at meetings.
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The text contains numerous Masonic symbols as well (Schickaneder, the librettist, was also a Freemason.). The elements of initiation includes three trials. The [[The Enlightenment|Enlightenment]] values of reason, self-control, and temperance are underscored in the dialogue and in Sarastro's arias.
  
 
[[Category:Operas]]
 
[[Category:Operas]]
 
[[Category:Classical Works]]
 
[[Category:Classical Works]]

Revision as of 18:45, 11 December 2009

The Magic Flute (German Die Zauberflöte) is a two-act singspiel (an opera with spoken text) written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791, the last year of his life. Composed in a popular style, to a German text by Emanuel Schickaneder, it stands in contrast to the majority of Mozart's mature operas, which were written in Italian and contained relatively sophisticated music. After an enormously successful opening production at Vienna's Theater auf der Wieden, it has since become one of the most frequently-performed operas throughout the world, and many of its arias and ensembles are familiar even to listeners who don't know their origin.

In this story heavy-laden with Masonic symbolism, Tamino is a prince who finds himself lost in an enchanted forest, being chased by a dragon. After slaying the dragon, three fairies introduce him to the Queen of the Night. She asks Tamino to go on a mission to bring back her daughter Pamina, who has been kidnapped by Sarastro. After receiving two magical musical instruments from the Three Boys, Tamino goes with Papageno, a simple bird-catcher, and soon discovers that Sarastro is the leader of a wise brotherhood, with whom Pamina has been staying willingly. Tamino and Papageno undertake rites of initiation, while the Queen of the Night tries to convince Pamina to kill Sarastro. This plot fails, and both Tamino and Papageno pass the initiation, marrying Pamina and Papagena.

The Magic Flute and Freemasonry

An active Freemason who also composed several other works for Masonic gatherings, Mozart inserted much Masonic symbolism into the work's musical accompaniment. Foremost among these is the prevalence of the number three: the overture begins mysteriously with three slow chords separated by long pauses; the key of the overture (and much of the opera) is E-flat major, which has three flats; there are three fairies who always sing together, as well as three boys who appear three times in the course of the story. Additionally, the orchestration contains a pair of a rather obscure instrument, the basset-horn, which was considered a Masonic instrument and played at meetings.

The text contains numerous Masonic symbols as well (Schickaneder, the librettist, was also a Freemason.). The elements of initiation includes three trials. The Enlightenment values of reason, self-control, and temperance are underscored in the dialogue and in Sarastro's arias.