The Magic Flute

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Work data
Original title: The Magic Flute
Emanuel Schikaneder as Papageno

Emanuel Schikaneder as Papageno

Original language: German
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto : Emanuel Schikaneder
Premiere: September 30, 1791
Place of premiere: Vienna, Theater im Freihaus on the Wieden
Playing time: approx. 3 hours
Place and time of the action: Fantasy place (between valleys and mountains), fairytale time
  • Sarastro ( bass )
  • Tamino ( tenor )
  • Speaker (bass)
  • First priest (tenor)
  • Second priest (bass)
  • Third priest ( speaking role )
  • Queen of the Night ( soprano )
  • Pamina, her daughter (soprano)
  • First lady (soprano)
  • Second lady (soprano)
  • Third lady ( old )
  • First boy ( soprano )
  • Second boy (soprano)
  • Third boy (soprano)
  • Papageno ( baritone )
  • Papagena (soprano)
  • Monostatos , a Mohr (tenor)
  • First armored man (tenor)
  • Second armored man (bass)
  • Three slaves (speaking roles)
  • Choir (priests, slaves and entourage)

(The roles of the three “boys” are summarized in the libretto of the world premiere as “Three Genii”. Vocal range specified according to the NMA .)

The Magic Flute ( KV 620) is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , which was premiered in 1791 in the Freihaus Theater in Vienna. The libretto is by Emanuel Schikaneder . The roughly three-hour work is one of the world's best-known and most frequently staged operas. The arias , which include The Bird Catcher , This portrait is enchantingly beautiful and the aria of the Queen of the Night The Vengeance of Hell is boiling in my heart , are also familiar to many who have never seen the opera. Since the opera is easily accessible, it is occasionally staged in such a way that it is aimed specifically at young audiences (also as a school performance by children). It is also sometimes shown as a puppet theater . Thanks to the extensive contrast principle, the opera clearly illustrates the zeitgeist of Viennese classicism . First appearing in the colorful, shimmering robe of a magical farce, in the course of the plot she increasingly turns to the proclamation of Masonic ideals.


The stage work was called "A great opera in two acts" at the premiere . Mozart himself described it as a "German opera". In fact, it combines a whole range of very different styles of music and theater, the opera seria , the opera buffa and the tragédie lyrique .

Formally, Die Zauberflöte is a Singspiel and, with its fairytale-like content and spectacular stage changes, is in the tradition of the old Viennese magic theater , a very popular Viennese special form of the Singspiel at the time. The fact that Mozart and Schikaneder refer to it as the “Great German Opera” is mainly due to the fact that at the end of the 18th century most German-language music theater pieces were performed in the form of the Singspiel. Mozart, however, expanded the traditional form of the Singspiel with rather simple stanzas, duets and vaudevilles to include the large form of the "chain finals" with constantly changing people and scenes, which he performed in his Da Ponte operas Le nozze di Figaro , Don Giovanni and So fan tutte had developed to mastery. In terms of shape, the Magic Flute corresponds to Mozart's Singspiel The Abduction from the Seraglio .

Orchestral line-up

According to the New Mozart Edition , the orchestra provides the following instruments:




First elevator

The young Prince Tamino is sent by the Queen of the Night to save her daughter Pamina, who was kidnapped by Prince Sarastro. The birdcatcher Papageno is put to Tamino's side. Tamino receives a magic flute from the three ladies of the Queen of the Night, who are still friendly, and Papageno a magical carillon. The two set off to free Pamina. Papageno finds Pamina in Sarastro's realm and tells her that Tamino, who is in love, has set out to rescue her. They want to flee to hurry towards Tamino, but meet Sarastro's superintendent Monostatos, whom they escape with the help of the carillon. In the meantime, Tamino reaches Sarastro's temple of wisdom, where he learns that Sarastro only has good intentions, which is not so obvious to him (“that's all hypocrisy”). Tamino falls into the hands of Monostatos, who brings him to Sarastro as a prisoner. Monostatos is punished by Sarastro, Tamino and Papageno are taken to the test temple and separated from Pamina.

second elevator

Sarastro wishes that Tamino be ordained as a priest of the Temple of Wisdom and explains that he, Sarastro, kidnapped Pamina to save her from the evil Queen of the Night, who also wants to destroy the temple. Tamino and Pamina are meant for each other and there is also a Papagena for Papageno. However, you would have to pass three exams beforehand: maturity , secrecy and steadfastness . Tamino and the timid Papageno undergo the exams, but Papageno fails at the beginning and is not allowed to accompany Tamino any further. Pamina, on the other hand, is allowed to continue following her Tamino; with the help of the Magic Flute they pass the last two exams. The desperate Papageno is united with Papagena by his magical carillon. The Queen of the Night tries to raid the temple, but is destroyed with Monostatos and her other allies. Tamino and Pamina are finally accepted together into the circle of initiates through Sarastro.

First elevator

1st picture. Rocky area

The theater is a rocky area, overgrown with trees here and there; on both sides are passable mountains and a round temple.

Tamino, a king's son, is chased by a giant snake (in Mozart's autograph there is a “grim lion”) in a wild rocky area. He himself lost his weapons and is at the mercy of the snake defenseless ("Help! Help! Otherwise I'll be lost"). Tamino faints, but is saved by three ladies, the servants of the Queen of the Night, who kill the snake. All three fall in love with Tamino and argue about which of them should stay with him alone and which two should return to the queen to notify her. Eventually the three of them leave Tamino with the promise to see him again soon.

Tamino wakes up and is surprised that he is still alive and that the snake is dead in front of him. Then he hears a strange whistle and hides. Papageno, who is described as a “strange being” - “half man, half bird” - enters the scene. He has a bird cage with him that contains some birds destined for the Queen of the Night. Then Tamino leaves his cover, and a mutual introduction follows in which Papageno describes himself as the servant of the Queen of the Night (“I am the bird catcher”). Tamino has already heard of this mysterious queen and has wanted to see her. Papageno explains to him that no one has yet seen the Queen of the Night. Finally, when asked by Tamino, he states that he himself killed the snake.

The three ladies return from the queen. First of all, they want to give Papageno his wages. Instead of the usual generous wages, however, he is punished for his lie: He is given water and a stone, and his mouth is closed with a golden lock. Then they turn to Tamino, to whom they present a portrait of Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. They promise him fame, honor and happiness if he is not indifferent to this image. Left alone, Tamino sings about his inflamed love for Pamina (“This portrait is enchantingly beautiful”).

The three women return and tell Tamino that their queen heard his words with pleasure and that he had chosen him to be her daughter Pamina's savior. This was said to have been kidnapped by an "evil demon" named Sarastro. Without hesitation, Tamino decides to set out to rescue and free Pamina, whereupon the ladies disappear.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel : The Star Hall of the Queen of the Night , stage design, gouache on Vergé paper (1815)

2nd picture. Magnificent room

The mountains part and the theater is transformed into a splendid room. The queen sits on a throne, which is decorated with transparent stars.

The Queen of the Night repeats the message that her three servants had already brought: she asks Tamino to rescue her daughter from Sarastro's violence and promises him to wife if he wins (“O don't tremble, my dear son!”). Then the mountains close again.

3rd picture. Like I / 1

The three ladies appear again and free Papageno from his mouth lock ("Quintet: Hm Hm Hm"). To do this, he has to promise never to lie again and to accompany Tamino in the liberation of Pamina. They appease Papageno's fearful resistance to Sarastro's anger by handing him a silver carillon as a reward. Tamino receives a magic flute. Both instruments are designed to protect against danger and turn enemies for good if you play on them. When asked about the way to Sarastro's kingdom, three young boys float down from heaven, showing Tamino and Papageno the way. They should also advise you on your trip. The queen's two men and women bid farewell to each other.

4th picture. Magnificent Egyptian room

In Sarastro's castle three slaves talk gleefully about their tormentor and supervisor Monostatos (in Mozart's autograph: “Manostatos”). This was supposed to kidnap Pamina, but after this was successful, Pamina was able to escape him again by a ruse. Now they are already looking forward to their master's punishment. Then Monostatos sounds angry and at the same time triumphant voice (“You fine dove, just come in!”): He has succeeded in catching Pamina again, and he now orders that shackles be put on in order to tie her. Pamina's pleading for mercy leaves him unaffected. He feels drawn to Pamina and pressures her. Papageno appears and saves her from this situation. Both Papageno and Monostatos consider each other to be the devil incarnate. They flee from each other while Pamina faints.

When she wakes up again, Papageno has returned. After he has convinced himself with the help of the portrait of the queen that he is speaking to the right woman, she learns that he and the prince have been sent to save her and that Tamino has fallen in love with her portrait. Pamina is delighted with her imminent rescue. She lets go of her initial suspicion and decides to flee with him (“With men who feel love”).

[Up to this point the division is as follows: Queen of the night and her three ladies are the good guys, Sarastro is the bad guy; it is conceivable that Sarastro will be split into Monostatos and Sarastro from here]

5th picture. A grove

The theater turns into a grove. In the background of the stage is a beautiful temple on which the words "Temple of Wisdom" are written. This temple leads with pillars to two other temples. On the right it says "Temple of Reason", on the left it says "Temple of Nature".

The three boys led Tamino to the temple of wisdom, the temple of reason and the temple of nature (“This path leads you to the goal”) and admonishes him to be steadfast, patient and discreet in order to successfully complete his mission. Left alone, Tamino tries to find his way into the temples. He is banished from the first two gates with a loud "Back!" When he wants to enter the temple of wisdom, an old priest meets him. In response to his questions, he learns from Tamino that he has been sent to rescue Pamina from Sarastro's violence, who is an unscrupulous villain. The spokesman explains to Tamino that he has been blinded by a woman and that Sarastro is not the villain he thinks he is. However, he confirms to Tamino that Sarastro had Pamina kidnapped. In response to Tamino's desperate question (“Is it all hypocrisy?”) How he could save Pamina, the priest only explains: “A woman does little, chats a lot ... to tell you this, my dear son, is not yet allowed ... As soon as the hand of friendship leads you into the sanctuary to the eternal bond. ”Then he disappears. Tamino, abandoned and at a loss, receives confirmation from invisible voices from inside the temple that Pamina is still alive. Delighted, he plays on his magic flute ("How strong is not your magic tone"). At their tone, the wild animals of the wilderness join him in a tame and friendly manner. Only Pamina does not appear. Papageno heard this and, for his part, played on his birdcatcher's flute, as if it were softly audible from a long way off. This "answer" awakens the enthusiastic hope in Tamino that Papageno has already found Pamina and that they are both on their way to see him. He rushes to meet them impatiently, but misses them.

Pamina and Papageno heard Tamino's flute signs while they were fleeing and believe they have saved themselves. Surprisingly, Monostatos appears who has followed and overheard her. He orders his slaves to tie up the two refugees and take them prisoner. In this distress, Papageno remembers the present from the three ladies. When he lets the carillon sound, Monostatos and his assistants become as tame as marionettes and dance away happily singing (“That sounds so wonderful”). The rescued want to flee for good.

They stop when the trumpets sound and Sarastro is announced (“Long live Sarastro”). He appears with his entourage as a magnificently dressed priest in a triumphal chariot drawn by lions. Pamina throws herself humbly at his feet and begs her release - for the sake of her poor mother's concern. She also seems worried that Sarastro intends to take her as his wife, which the plot up to this point also suggests. Sarastro answers Pamina in a friendly and respectful manner (“a man must guide your hearts, because without him every woman tends to step out of her sphere of activity”), but does not grant her freedom. He also knows that Pamina loves another (Tamino) very much. Before he can provide any information about Pamina's further fate, Monostatos appears. He managed to capture Tamino who wanted to kidnap Pamina with "this bird [Papageno's] ruse". He hopes for Sarastro's approval and reward, but is unexpectedly punished with 77 blows. Tamino and Papageno are taken to the examination temple on Sarastro's orders, while he himself goes to the temple with Pamina. The curtain falls beneath the choir's singing of praise for Sarastro.

second elevator

March of the priests

1st picture. A palm forest

The theater is a palm forest. All trees are silver-like, the leaves of gold. 18 seats made of leaves; on each there is a pyramid and a large black horn set in gold. In the middle is the largest pyramid, including the largest trees.

Sarastro gathers the priests around him (March of the Priests, "O Isis and Osiris"). He announces to them that he has chosen Tamino for Pamina. This is the reason why he snatched her from the “proud mother” who wanted to “seduce the people and destroy the temple” by “delusion and superstition”. Tamino is to be ordained as a priest. In response to questions from the priests, Sarastro confirms that Tamino has enough virtue, discretion and benevolence to be accepted into the order of priests. If, however, he does not pass the tests, i.e. if he dies, he is destined for Isis and Osiris and will be rewarded by them in the kingdom of the gods. Tamino is at the northern gate of the temple, full of desire "to tear off his nocturnal veil and look into the sanctuary of the greatest light". Together with the priests, Sarastro requests the protection of the gods for Tamino and vouches for him: “He has virtue? - Virtue! - Also secrecy? - secrecy. - Is charity? - Beneficent! ”He calls the priests to vote. After their approval, he thanks them “in the name of humanity” and reveals the background to Tamino's application. As soon as Tamino was one of the initiated, the cause of “wisdom and reason” had a great advantage over “prejudice”, which “wanted to dazzle the people and destroy our permanent temple building”. Nevertheless, doubts arise again because of the dangerousness of the exams, because Tamino is after all a king's son. Sarastro replies: "Even more - he is human!". Then he confidently instructs Tamino and Papageno to be subjected to the tests.

2nd picture. Short forecourt of the temple

Night, thunder rumbles from afar. The theater is transformed into a short forecourt of the temple, where you can see fragments of collapsed columns and pyramids along with some thorn bushes. On either side are tall, ancient Egyptian doors that lead to side buildings.

In the forecourt of the test temple, the first test: maturity

With their heads covered, Tamino and Papageno are led into the forecourt of the examination temple. They will be freed from their blindfolds. The first teaching begins with the question: “What do you seek or ask of us? What drives you to penetrate our walls? ”Tamino replies with:“ Friendship and love ”and does not want to shy away from death himself, whereupon he is warned that it is not yet too late to“ give way ”. Tamino is determined, however, and must reiterate it three times before shaking hands with it. Papageno, on the other hand, would rather go back to his birds in the forest. He is terrified and shows no willingness to expose himself to any danger. The priest can, however, change his mind to continue: Sarastro has "kept" Papagena for him, which is the same to him, and after Papageno's approval adds that men "who feel love" are not lost to the "love of wisdom". For the second test they are already "imposed in a healthy silence": Papageno will see Papagena, but without being allowed to speak to her. He is admonished with all severity to be courageous and silent. However, even the first lightning and thunder intimidate Papageno. Tamino will also “see Pamina, but never be allowed to speak”.

The three ladies of the Queen of the Night emerge from oblivion to instill fear in Tamino and Papageno and to fail their next test ("How? How? How? You in this place of horror?"). They remind Tamino of his commitment to his promise to the queen, report that the queen has already secretly entered Sarastro's palace, and threaten Tamino with death. Tamino is not deterred by this. Papageno, on the other hand, is stammering to himself and is thoroughly intimidated by the threats from the three women. The priests appear and curse the intruders into hell. The three women drown amid loud wailing and Papageno passed out.

3rd picture. A pleasant garden

The theater turns into a pleasant garden. The trees are planted like a horseshoe. In the middle is an arbor made of flowers and roses, in which Pamina sleeps. The moon lights up her face. There is a lawn bench at the very front.

"Hell's Vengeance Boils in My Heart"; Rita Streich , RIAS Symphony Orchestra , Ferenc Fricsay (1953)

Pamina sleeps in a garden. Monostatos wants to use this favorable opportunity to secretly kiss Pamina (“Everything feels the joys of love”). The Queen of the Night appears from oblivion to fend off Monostatos, whereupon Pamina wakes up. Monostatos withdraws, intimidated, but secretly overhears the following scene. Pamina rushes into her mother's arms full of joy. However, she coldly rejects them. Now that Tamino has devoted himself to the initiated, she can no longer protect Pamina. She hands her daughter a dagger specially sharpened for Sarastro and threatens to cast her away if she does not kill Sarastro. In this way she wants to get back the "all-consuming" sevenfold circle of the sun, which her deceased husband bequeathed to Sarastro, instead of, like everything else, her and her daughter. She confirms this wish with an oath of vengeance (" Hell's vengeance is boiling in my heart "). Monostatos overheard the scene and tries to blackmail Pamina into love. Pamina's pleading leaves Monostatos unmoved, but Sarastro appears. Monostatos tries to save himself from his embarrassment by reporting to Sarastro about the planned assassination attempt. Sarastro, however, angrily sends him away ("I know all too much. - I know that your soul is just as black as your face [...]"). Thereupon Monostatos decides to join the Queen of the Night. Pamina begs for mercy for her mother. Sarastro reassures her: "In these holy halls one does not know vengeance".

4th picture. A Hall

The theater turns into a hall where the airframe can go. The airframe is surrounded by roses and flowers, where a door then opens. Tamino and Papageno are led in by the two priests without sacks. At the very front are two lawn benches.

A hall in the test temple, the second test: secrecy

"Oh, I feel it, it's gone"

Tamino and Papageno are led into a hall and again warned to keep quiet. Papageno tries to persuade Tamino to speak. Tamino remains steadfast. An ugly old woman approaches and tempts Papageno to talk with a jug of water. She pretends to be his lover, who is also only 18 years old. When Papageno, astonished and amused, tries to ask for her name, she disappears under thunder and lightning. Papageno vows not to speak another word. The three boys appear and bring food and drink and the flute and the carillon (“Welcome to us a second time”). While Papageno is eating with relish, Tamino is playing his flute. Pamina appears attracted by the sound. Tamino's silence confuses her. When she cannot get Tamino or Papageno to explain, she believes that she has lost Tamino's love and turns away in despair (“Oh, I feel it, it's gone”). Tamino and Papageno are called to the next test by a trumpet.

5th picture. Vaults of pyramids

The theater is transformed into the vault of pyramids. Speakers and some priests. Two priests carry an illuminated pyramid on their shoulders; each priest holds a transparent pyramid the size of a lantern.

The priests sing about Tamino's virtue ("O Isis and Osiris, what bliss!"). Sarastro praises Tamino's steadfastness. Now he still has a difficult test to pass. Sarastro calls Pamina to strengthen Tamino's courage. Tamino and Pamina say goodbye in mourning. Sarastro promises to see them again and separates them.

Papageno failed the exam and was separated from Tamino. A priest announces the release of a divine punishment, but he loses the dignity of initiation. Papageno is satisfied with a good glass of wine given to him. He plays his glockenspiel ("Papageno wants a girl or a woman!"), Whereupon the ugly old woman reappears. She threatens Papageno with perpetual imprisonment if he does not want to take her as his wife. Papageno then vows to her eternal loyalty (as long as he couldn't find anything more beautiful). Then the old woman turns into a beautiful young woman, in whom Papageno recognizes his promised friend Papagena. Both of the priests are forcibly separated because Papageno is not yet worthy of them. In his outrage, Papageno curses the interference of the priests and is swallowed up on the ground.

6th picture. A short garden

The three boys appear for the third time (“Soon emblazoned to proclaim the morning”). The boys notice Pamina who, out of disappointed love for Tamino, wants to kill herself with the dagger her mother gave her. The three boys forcibly stop her and announce Tamino's love to her. Pamina, delighted, hurries with the boys to meet her lover.

7th picture. Two big mountains

The theater turns into two big mountains. In one there is a large waterfall, in which you can hear the roaring and roaring, the other mountain spewing fire. Each mountain has an openwork grating through which you can see the fire and water. The horizon over the fire mountain is bright red, the horizon over the water mountain is covered with black fog. There are also rocks on both sides. In the background an iron door can be seen on each side.

The doors of terror, the third test: steadfastness

The two in armor lead Tamino to his third and final test (“The one who walks this road full of complaints”). He is to cross two dark mountains in which fire rages in one and water in the other. Tamino is determined to do so. Pamina rushes over to accompany him, which she is allowed to do, as well as the conversation among themselves. She advises him to play the Magic Flute for her protection on her way. Both wander through the gates of terror unscathed and are congratulated on the passed exams to the praise of the initiates. ("Triumph, triumph! You noble couple! You have conquered the danger!").

8th picture. Like II / 6

Papageno was released from the temple. Longing for his lost female, he wants to take his own life and hang himself on a tree. The requests that “any one” should be found on three counts are also unsuccessful. The three boys stop him at the last second and advise him to play his carillon. At the sound of it Papagena appears and both, finally happily united, fall into each other's arms (“Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa”).

The Queen of the Night has entered the temple with the three ladies and Monostatos in order to overthrow Sarastro. The queen promises Monostatos Pamina to wife if her plan succeeds. The rumble of thunder and the rush of water announce an approaching threat. The Queen's assistants swear an oath of vengeance.

9th picture. Sun

You can hear the strongest chord, thunder, lightning, storm. Immediately the whole theater is transformed into a sun. Sarastro stands elevated; Tamino, Pamina, both in priestly clothing. Beside them the Egyptian priests on both sides. The three boys are holding flowers.

The conspirators disappear with one last outcry (“Our power is shattered, destroyed, we are all plunged into eternal night”). Sarastro appeared with Tamino and Pamina. ("The rays of the sun"). With jubilation it is proclaimed: "Strength has triumphed and crowns the reward - beauty and wisdom with an eternal crown". The curtain falls.

The structure of the action

Thanks to Schikaneder's “parallel montage”, the individual acts shown on the stage in chronological order have to be imagined at the same time: “While Pamina is locked in her 'Egyptian room' by Monostatos and then freed by Papageno, Tamino is taken by the three boys in the Temple garden led and met the old priest. While Tamino and Papageno take the first stages of their examination path in the forecourt of the temple, Pamina sleeps in her flower arbor, is harassed by Monostatos and receives a visit from her mother, then Sarastros. While Pamina is saved from suicide by the three boys, Tamino arrives at the 'gate of terror' of his last test and (happily at the end) are brought together, but otherwise (as in a film cut) through transformations of the stage design are each contrasted with each other. Then in the second finale there is a third level of action, which is clearly subordinate to the Tamino-Pamina story: “While Pamina and Tamino walk through fire and water, on the one hand Papageno wants to hang himself up and with the help of the three boys finally gets his Papagena, and on the other hand, tries to overthrow the Queen of the Night with her suite of ladies and her new ally Monostatos Sarastro's rule. "

History of origin

Literary and other sources

Emanuel Schikaneder

Schikaneder's literary sources served as the basis for the text of the libretto , especially the fairy tale Lulu, which appeared in Wieland's collection Dschinnistan (1786–1788), or the magic flute by August Jacob Liebeskind , Wielands Oberon (1780), Jean Terrassons (which is fictitious as a translation of an old “Greek manuscript “Giving) Roman Séthos (1731) - Mozart had already dealt with him when composing the incidental music for the heroic play Thamos, King in Egypt by Tobias Philipp von Gebler (1774) - and Karl Friedrich Hensler's Sun Festival of the Braminen (1790). Elements of the opera Oberon, König der Elfen by Paul Wranitzky , which Schikaneder's troupe had performed in 1790, were also adopted. In the figure of Sarastro (Italian form of Zarathustra ), which personifies wisdom , Schikaneder wanted - like Mozart Freemason  - according to legend, to immortalize his master of the chair, Ignaz von Born , who died shortly before the premiere of the Magic Flute .

The reference to the source is particularly evident in the inscription presented by the two men in armor (28th appearance), which is taken almost literally from Terrasson's novel, in which it is also placed in front of a fire and water test. In the translation by Matthias Claudius it reads :

“Whoever walks this path alone, and without looking behind him, will be purified by fire, water and air; and when he can overcome the horror of death, he will come out of the lap of the earth again and see the light again, and he will have the right to make his soul the revelation of the great goddess Isis! "

The same rhyming in the Magic Flute :

He who walks this road full of complaints,
Becomes pure through fire, water, air and earth;
When he can overcome the horror of death, he will
swing himself out of the earth to heaven. -
Enlightened he will then be able
to dedicate himself completely to the mysteries of Isis.

In the setting of Mozart used the Luther - Choral " O God, from the sky into it look " (without repeating the first two lines and with the addition of a further end; comparison ), shaping it as elaborately fugal chorale in the strict style of JS Bach , his so archaic character is emphasized. As a possible template for the accompaniment, Jan Assmann refers to a contrapuntal study by Joh. Philipp Kirnberger.

Viennese puppet and magic opera

In Vienna the second half of the 18th century had established a Singspiel type during the course serving as Wiener Punch and Judy and magic opera is called and the Viennese popular theater is related. Typical of these operas was an act in which love triumphed over various dangers. Acting characters were - besides people, ghosts , magicians and wild animals - good and bad forces . A mostly very elaborate production ensured these Singspiele, which were increasingly regarded as German operas, especially by the theater manager Karl von Marinelli , a great success with the audience. Wenzel Müller and Ferdinand Kauer are among the composers who were active in this field . In particular, Müller's Singspiel Kaspar, the bassoonist, or: The Magic Zither , which premiered just a few months before Mozart's Magic Flute , may have influenced the creation of the Magic Flute with its plot . This concerns, among other things, the actually illogical break in the characterization of the Queen of the Night, who in the first act of The Magic Flute represents a positive figure, but in the second act, unlike the corresponding figure in Perinet, is drawn as a negative figure. Schikaneder had already celebrated its first success with the opera Oberon, König der Elfen by Paul Wranitzky , written in 1789, another opera of the old Viennese magic theater.

L'arbore di Diana , The Magic Flute and Leopold II.

The role model for the Queen of
the Night: Diana in Martín y Soler's L'arbore di Diana ( Laura Aikin , Barcelona 2009).

In his biography Vicente Martín y Solers , published in 2007 , the Argentine biographer Leonardo J. Waisman pointed out similarities between the Magic Flute and the 1787 dramma giocoso Da Pontes L'arbore di Diana ( The Tree of Diana ) with the music of Vicente Martín y Soler . The Valencian composer's Da Ponte operas were more popular in Vienna than those of Mozart. Schikaneder wrote a German-language sequel to Martín's great success Una cosa rara ( The Rare Case ) in 1790.

There are striking parallels between the three nymphs in L'arbore di Diana and the three ladies in the Magic Flute : They play an important role at the beginning of the operas, are physically attracted to newcomers - Doristo and Tamino - and are their mistresses (more or more less) disobedient. The correspondence between the latter is even greater - the moon goddess Diana and the queen of the night: Both lose their rule, thirst for revenge and turn from (apparently) good to bad beings. Both of them punish disobedience - Britomarte and Papageno - with silence. The shepherd Doristo is like the bird catcher Papageno a nature boy. The Singspiel version of L'arbore di Diana also features Three Genii with soprano voices , which the Three Boys of the Magic Flute are reminiscent of.

Above all, however, fortresses are attacked in both operas: In L'arbore di Diana, Amore and his entourage storm the island of the goddess of chastity, in the Magic Flute the Queen of the Night and her entourage attempt the same thing with the Temple of Wisdom. Martín y Soler refers to the monasteries secularized by Emperor Joseph II , while Mozart is about the Enlightenment , which in the states of the House of Austria after the costly Turkish War , the revolts against the reforms of Joseph II, the French Revolution and the Leopold II's accession to the throne was threatened by clericalism and reaction .

Masonic influences

The ideas and the setting by Mozart are influenced by the spirit of Freemasonry ; Mozart was a Freemason himself. He was accepted into the Viennese lodge Zur Charity (later: To the newly crowned hope ) at the instigation of his friend and chairman there, Otto Heinrich von Gemmingen-Hornberg . Mozart also regularly visited the Viennese lodge Zur Wahr Eintracht , in which the Freemason and Illuminate Ignaz von Born was chair master and which, through Born, became the center of the Viennese Illuminati. On January 7, 1785, Mozart was promoted to the degree of journeyman there by Born. When The Magic Flute was performed in 1791, Ignaz von Born no longer played a role as a Freemason , also as a result of the Freemason's patent from 1785.

In the return of a differently rhythmic chord progression (- ‿– ‿– = 5 beats at the beginning of the overture and before Sarastro's first appearance, three times ‿– - in the middle of the overture and several times at significant points in the opera), Mozart should each for Apprentice, journeyman and master degree of his lodge have processed characteristic hammer-blow noises. From a musicological point of view, the three knocking signs in the Magic Flute do not yet establish a direct connection with Freemasonry. These three characters, which come from the French genre of «merveilleux», appear in music theater as early as the early 18th century. The three chords of the overture can also be found in many other stage works ( Armida by Traetta , La Circe by Giuseppe Gazzaniga ) without any reference to Freemasonry being made in these cases. In fact, both the rituals of initiation and a large part of the symbols used belong to Freemasonry. The number three is the symbol of holiness and in Freemasonry borrowed from the symbolism of the temple of Solomon. The priestly blessing in Judaism consisted of three parts and when God was invoked the word holy was uttered three times. In Freemasonry, three hard blows symbolize the perseverance, confidence and enthusiasm of the candidate as well as according to Mt7,7 ELB : “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. "

However, according to Jan Brachmann (in the FAZ ) , the influence of Masonic ideas on the Magic Flute , which is usually assumed and recently highlighted by Jan Assmann, must not be overestimated:

“Assmann paints an overly positive picture of the Freemasons as champions of a world republic of humanity. The Papageno Plain should confirm this. But in a side note he himself mentions that Schikaneder was expelled from a Regensburg lodge in 1789. The initiated did not want an actor and singer living apart from his wife. It is also known that the lodge master Ignaz von Born, Mozart's role model for Sarastro, was a Grand Inquisitor of the Enlightenment who carried out ideological cleansing in Vienna and had the correspondence of his opponents monitored by the secret service. Mozart felt uncomfortable and for a while thought of founding his own secret society, the 'Grotto'. Thus, on the Papageno level, with all sympathy for the ideals of the Freemasons, one can see primarily criticism of their methods: The whole world of the religion of reason runs the risk of becoming totalitarian if it does not also have space for such colorful birds as Schikaneder , the first actor in Papageno, was one. "

Attila Csampai finally believes that he recognizes a completely critical, distant, even negative attitude towards the Freemasons and the Enlightenment in Schikaneder's libretto and especially in some details of the musical implementation by Mozart, and sums it up:

“In contrast to most of their 'progressive […]' thinking contemporaries, they [Schikaneder and Mozart] do not fall into idealizing euphoria or blind anticipation in the face of the new 'realm of reason', but rather they distinguish between with astonishingly clear foresight and the finest intuition the 'beautiful appearance' and the terrifying reality of what is being announced. [...] And they by no means hide the fact that not all hopes, longings and utopias will find their fulfillment. "

In spite of all of this, it must be noted that no contemporary critic mentions the allusions to Freemasonry that can be made out in the opera with a single word. In any case, Schikaneder and Mozart designed their work in such a way that it was also suitable and understandable for the general public. Assmann therefore calls " The Magic Flute an 'opera duplex' based on the model of 'religio duplex', a double religion with a popular outside and an elitist inside: the outside of the opera is the fairy tale, its inside the mystery cult of the Freemasons, to whom Mozart belonged."



The title “The Magic Flute” was by no means certain from the start; at first apparently “The Egyptian Secrets” was also thought of. That this idea was finally rejected is probably due to the fact that with the underlying reference to the Masonic mystery ritual, the motifs love and music and thus two central elements of the opera, which in this combination are taken from the Orpheus myth, would not have been recorded musical dramatization by Christoph Willibald Gluck ( Orfeo ed Euridice , 1762) the Magic Flute is in a certain sense the counterpart.


According to the prevailing opinion in the past, the plot and in particular the orientation of the characters were reworked several times during the time the opera was written. This was believed to explain the cracks and inconsistencies in the libretto (the “break”, see below ): Schikaneder had the Magic Flute more sharply against Wenzel Müller's magic opera Kaspar, the bassoonist, which was created at the same time and based on similar models , or: Die Want to delineate magic zither. There is evidence that Mozart was present at the premiere of Müller's opera on June 8, 1791: "... I went to the bassoonist's new opera , which makes so much noise - but nothing about it," to cheer me up Mozart wrote to his wife in his own diction.

Theater ticket for the premiere, September 30, 1791

In the course of Mozart's reception, the assumption arose, which is exemplified in Wolfgang Hildesheimer's book about Mozart, published in 1977, that Carl Ludwig Giesecke , who worked as an actor and playwright under Schikaneder, had an influence on the elaboration of the libretto. The aforementioned contradictions in the libretto were supposed to be traced back to his intervention. According to Christina Zech, the Magic Flute often has passages hostile to women; These and the Freemason scenes could, it was assumed, have been given to Giesecke by Schikaneder as an assistant due to lack of time. The assertion (made by himself) of Giesecke's participation in the libretto is now considered refuted. The theater bill for the premiere mentions Schikaneder exclusively as a librettist.

Regarding the image of the woman, the Magic Flute, mentioned above and the misogyny of Sarastro's male order, Jan Assmann points out: “But we must not forget that this gynophobia is to be understood symbolically. The abhorrence of the priests does not apply to the 'woman' as such, but to superstition, which has found its narrative and dramatic embodiment in the figure of the Queen of the Night. "With the inauguration of Pamina," the misogyny of men [...] will be a thing of the past "; and contrary to Sarastro's sentence, “A man must guide your hearts”, in the end it is she who leads Tamino through the fire and water test: “I myself guide you, love guides me!”

Explanations of the "break"

That in the course of the opera (more precisely: from Tamino's encounter with the priest at the beginning of the finale of the 1st act) the painful Queen of the Night, who deserves our human compassion, turns into a hateful, murderous fury and Sarastro from a merciless and merciless tyrant to the benevolent and wise ruler in the realm of the sun, was often referred to as a “break” and accounts for the aforementioned contradictions in the libretto ( Ingmar Bergman tries to capture them in his Magic Flute film by playing the Queen of the Night in her first aria “Zum Suffering I am chosen ”lets take a furtive sidelong glance at Tamino for a short moment, which exposes her lecture as a calculated, compassionate demonstration; furthermore, that the three boys introduce themselves instead of leaving it to the three women, which is clear from the start should be that they are not in the service of the Queen).

In the past, as discussed above, attempts to explain the “break” were almost always by reversing the dramaturgical concept while the opera was being written; the reasons given for this were the intention to delimit the above. Competitive company Kaspar, the bassoonist, or the magic zither, but also "that the Masonic circles lively interested in the piece have encouraged the revision" ( Wilhelm Zentner in the introduction to the 1957 Reclam edition ). Brigid Brophy advocated a variant of this last assumption : For ideological reasons, the authors switched from one Masonic myth to another, namely from a pro feminist rescue story close to the Orpheus myth (with the Queen of the Night as one Isis - Demeter ) to an anti-feminist one “Initiation story” in the sense of the prevailing Masonic misogyny. - According to Jürgen Schläder (in the Great Lexicon of Music ), however, the contradictions in action “point very clearly to the genre type ' machine comedy', to the lavish stage spectacle that Schikaneder had in mind, and not to the often suspected drama of ideas ”; He denies Masonic influences.

In his book Die Zauberflöte, Jan Assmann (as an Egyptologist familiar with the “mysteriology” of the 18th century) gave a decisive rejection of any “fracture theory”, however justified . Opera and Mystery (2005). This has to be considered disproved simply by the fact that the inks and types of paper show that Mozart did not compose the individual numbers in the sequence of the plot, but in ten different phases of composition, with "later" parts being at the same time as "earlier" originated (for example the aria with choir “O Isis und Osiris” by the “good” Sarastro in the very first phase). The radical turn, the sudden change of perspective in the assessment of Sarastro and the Queen was intended from the start: “Here an inner process of rethinking, change of heart, even conversion is shown, which the opera lets not only the hero but also the audience go through . "It corresponds to the ritual of the contemporary (not historically, but understood as timelessly valid)" Egyptian mysteries "of the Freemasons (literarily tangible in the novel Séthos of the Abbé Jean Terrasson and the influential Crata Repoa in these circles ), in which those to be initiated theirs previous superstitions (embodied here by the Queen of the Night) should be recognized as such in order to fully turn to the truth (represented here by Sarastro), the matter of “wisdom and reason”. In this sense, Jan Assmann interprets the Magic Flute as a “new mystery” in the service of enlightenment.

In contrast to this, in Attila Csampai's radically critical view of the Masons, the breaking point, the “crossing of boundaries” when Tamino entered the world of Sarastro, marks a “realistic turn” with a kind of “ brainwashing ” by means of which the initiate themselves “little matured [en] "Make princes compliant:" Because since time immemorial there has been no form of rule - no matter how inhuman - that would not have morally justified its actions, that would not have had its own 'positive' philosophical-ideological superstructure. "

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


The history of the musical genesis, like that of the libretto, is only sketchily documented. What is certain is that Mozart began composing in April 1791 . An alleged letter from Schikaneder to Mozart from the year 1790, in which Schikaneder Mozart returned his "Pa-pa-pa" (which is also considered to be genuine in the latest literature), turned out to be an extremely clumsy forgery years ago. From the end of May 1791, Mozart's wife Constanze was taking a cure near Vienna. Mozart's letters to his wife occasionally refer to his work on the Magic Flute, so that the genesis of the opera during this period is somewhat better documented. In July 1791 the opera was completed, with the exception of the overture and the priest's march. Mozart then interrupted work for several weeks to concentrate on the opera La clemenza di Tito , which was to be completed for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia . It was not until September 1791 that Mozart completed work on the opera completely.

One of the legends surrounding opera is that Mozart wrote it to help the theater manager Schikaneder, who was in dire financial straits. However, this can be considered unlikely as Schikaneder was at the height of its success with his theater at the time. Perhaps it was the other way around, and with this project Schikaneder supported Mozart, who was not doing well financially at the time. The musical implementation was - as was common at the time - largely shaped by the singers who were available. Schikaneder was supposed to sing the role of Papageno, and in fact that role doesn't require a singer with a large vocal range. Unlike the others, the role benefits from a singer who has an acting talent.

200 years premiere, DBP 1991

The premiere took place on September 30, 1791 in Schikaneder's Freihausheater in the Starhembergschen Freihaus on the Wieden in Vienna. Schikaneder played Papageno himself. The Queen of the Night was played by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer , Tamino by his friend Benedikt Schack , Pamina by Anna Gottlieb , Sarastro by Franz Xaver Gerl , Papagena by his wife Barbara Gerl , the second priest of Schikaneder's brother Urban Schikaneder , the first boy of Urban Schikaneder's daughter Anna Schikaneder and the second and third boy of Anselm Handelgruber and Franz Anton Maurer.


Constanze Mozart sold the autograph of the score in 1799 to the publisher Johann Anton André , who, contrary to what was planned, did not print the score. The autograph of the “Magic Flute” had been in the possession of Andrés eldest son since 1842, who sold it to the banker Eduard Sputh. Sputh wanted to donate the score to the Prussian royal family - but since he went bankrupt, it became part of the bankruptcy estate. The score finally came to the Berlin Royal Library (now the Berlin State Library ). During the Second World War , the score was taken to relocation sites in Silesia . Since these areas belonged to Poland after 1945 , the score became part of the Berlinka in Krakow . However, this was not known to science for many years. It was only returned in 1977 on the occasion of a state visit by Poland's head of state Edward Gierek to the GDR and has since been back in the Berlin State Library. The score of the “Magic Flute” was published in 1813 by Birchall.


Structure of the opera


The majestic introduction to the overture in the key of E flat major, which runs through the entire opera as the key of love, begins with the triple chord, which functions as a leitmotif for Sarastro and his priests. This motif is also reminiscent of knocking three times at a Masonic lodge . The subsequent Allegro part in the sonata form proves Mozart's fugue art: He uses a theme from Muzio Clementi's Sonata in B flat major op.47 No. 1 , which he heard ten years earlier in a prelude to the emperor, as in the finale of his Jupiter symphony : He brings the theme first in the exposition of a fugue, followed by a homophonic tutti section. In the further course the theme often appears canonically displaced or with obligatory counterpoints; in the implementation both together. Before this the triple chord is struck again, but only with wind instruments and in B flat major, as it returns later in the 2nd act.

First elevator

The musical numbers are:

  • No.1 Introduction (Tamino, the three ladies): The introduction is opened by a dramatic and oppressive C minor, which characterizes Tamino's premonition of death. Rapid changes from loud and soft as well as tremolos in the middle strings reinforce this effect. The rescue by the three ladies, which begins with a triumphal march, audibly follows. The number ends in a clear C major.
  • No. 2 aria "I am the bird catcher" (Papageno): This folk-song aria is in the simple key of G major, which is a constant feature of Papageno in the further course of the opera. The aria is designed as a stanza song and is largely based on the main levels ( tonic , subdominant, etc.) and on the notes of the G major scale. This reinforces the folksong-like character, as only simple harmonies go to waste.
  • No.3 aria “This portrait is enchantingly beautiful” (Tamino): The key of this aria is E flat major, which already had its place in the overture. The melody contains many chromatic sighs and intensifications, both to reinforce the text, which tells of longing and love.
  • No.4 aria “I am chosen to suffer” (Queen of the Night) : This aria begins with a recitative, which is preceded by a majestic B flat major organ point, a sign of the queen's power. With the Neapolitan sixth chord, the action turns to G minor, the key of mourning in which the queen reports on her daughter's imprisonment. In the second part, again in B flat major, the queen instructs the young prince to free her daughter. In the second section of this B flat major part, extensive coloratura appear, which use the full ambitus of the soprano part; an essential feature of the Queen of the Night.
  • No.5 Quintet (Tamino, Papageno, the three ladies): The quintet is again in B flat major. It's the last number of the first picture. It does not show a uniform form, the plot continues here, Tamino and Papageno receive the magic flute and the glockenspiel.
  • No. 6 Terzett (Pamina, Monastatos, Papageno): This number is rather short and has more of the character of a recitative - without showing its musical characteristics, the decisive factor is that the action continues during the trio.
  • No.7 duet "With men who feel love" (Pamina, Papageno): In this number love is sung about, which is why it is also in E flat major.
  • No.8 Final: The final is an example of a chain final in which there are changes in people, times and scenery. It begins with a march in C major when the three boys escort Tamino to the gates of the temple. This is followed by a long recitative in which Tamino speaks to the priest and includes, among other things. learns that Pamina is still alive. Then Tamino plays his Magic Flute in the hope of finding Pamina. In the sad C minor, the line follows: “Yes, only Pamina stays away!”. After the change of scenery you can see Papageno and Pamina fleeing, this section is in G major. A hard change of pace and a unison accompany Monostatos, who wants to capture the two. Papageno now plays his carillon, whereupon the slaves begin to sing. The melody has similarities with the aria “I am the bird catcher”, both in the key and in the structure of the melody. For example, both melodies start with three descending, equal note values. Then a march can be heard announcing the arrival of Sarastro. This is followed by an aria- like section in which Pamina Sarastro gives the reasons for fleeing. Then Monostatos appears, who leads Tamino into it. At a hectic pace (Allegro, 2/2 time) and in syllabic setting of the text, Monostatos tries to convince Sarastro that the refugees should be punished. Instead, Sarastro gave the order to give him "only seventy-seven blows". The first act ends with a choir in C major singing about virtue and justice.

second elevator

  • No.9 March of the Priests: This number acts as a prelude to the second act. The striding character reflects the calm and sanctity of the priests.
  • No. 9a The three-fold chord: In the subsequent consultation of the priests, the three- fold chord recurs again and again, in the form in which it appeared in the overture before the implementation. He will also play a role later.
  • No.10 aria with choir “O Isis and Osiris” (Sarastro): This number is probably one of the quietest and most serene of the whole opera. It is only made up of medium and low instruments; the tempo is adagio and the constant dynamics piano.
  • No.11 Duet (Two Priests): This duet is a brief warning from the priests.
  • No.12 quintet (Tamino, Papageno, the three ladies; later the choir of priests): This number is also a warning, but from the side of the Queen of the Night. Strangely enough, this number is in G major, the key of joy in the Magic Flute. Suddenly in C minor the voices of the priests can be heard, causing the ladies to plunge into oblivion. This dramatic moment is reinforced by a tutti and two diminished seventh chords e. Startled, Papageno falls to the ground. With the appearance of the priests the triple chord sounds again.
  • No.13 aria “Everything feels the joy of love” (Monostatos): In this aria - for the only time in the opera - a piccolo is used. The music sounds lighter because “everything is sung and played as piano as if the music were a long way away” (instructions in the score).
  • No.14 aria " Hell's vengeance boils in my heart " (Queen of the Night): This aria is one of the most famous opera arias of all. The theme of the text is vengeance, and the key of D minor reinforces this. The composer also uses the key of D minor in other Mozart operas in which vengeance is sung. The characteristic coloratura appear here too. A frequent forte-piano change pervades almost the entire aria, which intensifies the hectic and frenzied effect. The Neapolitan sixth chord is also used , which appears in the text passages “Death and despair (smashes) all bonds of nature” and “hears, gods of vengeance”.
  • No.15 aria “In these holy halls” (Sarastro): The key E major, which is unusual for Mozart, stands here as the clear opposite of the gloomy D minor of the previous aria, which also expresses the opposite of the message of this aria. As in the aria “O Isis und Osiris” (No. 10), calm and peace dominate here; the tempo is larghetto, the dynamics mostly piano.
  • No.16 trio “Be welcome to us for the second time” (The Three Boys): This number is in the light key of A major. The first violin always plays a simple two-note motif, which gives the music lightness.
  • No.17 aria "Oh, I feel it, it has disappeared" (Pamina): The aria is in the key of G minor, which is the key of mourning in the aria of the Queen of the Night "I am chosen to suffer" (No. 4) occurs. Many sighs and chromatic cloudiness dominate the aria. Certain intervals, especially the tritone and the minor seventh, often appear in descending form; in classical music they are the sign of suffering.
  • No.18 Choir of the Priests “O Isis and Osiris, what bliss”: The key of this choir is D major. The passage “The düs'tre night scares away the shine of the sun” is considered to be a special musical arrangement of the text. First of all, the events in the piano down to G minor are clouded, so that the text “scares away the shine of the sun” in the forte and in A major, the dominant of D major, looks all the more splendid.
  • No.19 Terzett (Tamino, Pamina, Sarastro): The two lovers say goodbye. Like the quintet No. 3 or the trio No. 6, the trio No. 19 is more of a dialogue between the people.
  • No.20 aria “A girl or a bitch” (Papageno): This aria also contains the folksong-like tone of No. 2, but in F major. A special feature is the change in tempo and time signature: In the first section, the chorus, the time signature is 2/4 and the tempo Andante, followed by the Allegro stanzas in 6/8 time. While the refrain emphasizes what he wants ("Papageno wants a girl or a woman"), the three stanzas show his idea of ​​life with a woman, his suffering, not having a wife, and the idea of ​​how his suffering is healed, sung about. The carillon is also used; it is varied from verse to verse. The winds join the last stanza.
  • No.21 Finale: The finale begins with a march in E flat major sung by the three boys. This is followed by a C minor section by Pamina who wants to murder herself insane. The three boys prevent her from doing so, the tempo accelerating and the previous E flat major being restored. Now there is a change of scenery. Tamino stands in front of the gates of terror, a dark, mysterious C minor fugue accompanies the chorale of the two men in armor. Pamina's voice can be heard, followed by a change from slow to fast and from minor to major. The duet of the two lovers follows in F major. Then they walk through the gates of terror, which is accompanied by a march in C major. Here Tamino plays a clear solo on his flute. After passing through the gates of terror, the Magic Flute is sung about in pure C major every time. This is followed by a choir singing “Triumph” out loud, also in C major. After a change of scenery, one sees Papageno again, desperately calling for Papagena, his lover. The key of G major soon turns to G minor, Papageno wants to hang himself. but the three boys stop him, in the key of C major. The duet "Pa-pa-pa" now follows again in G major. After another change of scenery, Monostatos try to penetrate the queen of the night and her three ladies into the temple of the sun. In a gloomy C minor, the queen, the ladies and Monostatos imagine how they attack the priests and already pay homage to her as their ruler. The mysterious effect of this passage arises both from the many unisonos in piano and from the frequent recurrence of the harmonies I - VI - IV - V - I - V, which are reminiscent of a Passacaglia. Suddenly a powerful diminished seventh chord sounds in fortissimo and played by all instruments. This journey into hell can be compared with the penultimate scene in the opera “Don Giovanni”. The ambitus of the lines "Shattered, destroyed is our power, we all plunged into eternal night" extends the first time over more than an octave, the second time even over almost two octaves - the musical illustration of the fall into the depths. There now follows a short recitative by Sarastro, in which he explains the fall. The final chorus in E flat major now follows. The text reads: "Strength prevailed and as a reward crowns beauty in wisdom with an eternal crown".

Character of music

Key characters

In the Magic Flute, certain keys are assigned a fixed meaning.

key meaning Examples from the opera
C major Virtue and wisdom Finale 1st act, of which:

"This path leads you to your goal" (The Three Boys)

Final choir

Finale 2nd act, of which:

The passage through the gates of terror

Triumphal choir

C minor death Introduction (Tamino)

Finale 2nd act, of which:

"So you are my bridegroom?" (Pamina)

"The one who walks this street" (two men in armor)

"Only silence, silence, silence, silence" (Monostatos, the three ladies, queen of the night)

G major Carefree, joy "I am the bird catcher" (Papageno)

Finale 1st act, of which:

"That sounds so wonderful" (choir of slaves)

"Pa-pa-pa" (Papageno, Papagena)

G minor grief "I am chosen to suffer" (Queen of the Night)

"Oh, I feel it, it's gone" (Pamina)

Finale 2nd act, of which:

"Papagena, Papagena, Papagena!" (Papageno)

E flat major love "This portrait is enchantingly beautiful" (Tamino)

"With men who feel love" (Pamina, Papageno)

E flat major Virtue overture

Finale 2nd act, of which:

"Soon emblazoned to announce the morning" (The three boys)

Final choir

D minor revenge "Hell's vengeance boils in my heart" (Queen of the Night)

Character characters

Each person or group of people also has its own musical character.

Person or group of people musical characteristics Examples from the opera
Tamino, Pamina very clear emotional language Enthusiastic ups and downs in "This portrait is enchantingly beautiful" (Tamino)

Falling tritoni and seventh as a sign of mourning in "Oh, I feel it, it has disappeared" (Pamina)

Papageno, Papagena folksong-like tone simple harmonies and easily memorable melodies in "I am the bird catcher" (Papageno)
Sarastro and his priests Calm and serenity Deep cast and constant dynamics in "O Isis and Osiris" (Sarastro)
The queen of the night virtuoso and fiery passages Coloratura in "Hell's Vengeance Boils in My Heart"
The three boys Choral-like melodies and harmonies "This train leads you to your goal"
The three ladies Change between homophony and polyphony Imitating inserts in the introduction

Chorale-like adoration of the Queen of the Night in the finale of Act 2

Monostatos syllabic text setting "Now proud young man, just come here"

Impact history

The reactions to the premiere

Jacob Schroth : Papageno group at the Theater an der Wien (1801)

It is one of the legends surrounding the Magic Flute that the opera was an instant success. This legend finds support in Mozart's letter of October 7th: The opera “was as full as ever. The duetto 'man and woman' and the bells in the first acre were repeated as usual - also in the second acre the boys' trio - but what I am most happy about is the quiet applause! ”. In October 1791 alone the opera was performed twenty times in Vienna. In November 1792 Schikaneder claimed to be bringing the Magic Flute to the stage for the 100th time. However, only 83 performances have been booked by then. Up until May 6, 1801, the production was performed a total of 223 times in the Vienna suburban theater.

Nevertheless, the work did not initially meet with unanimous approval from the public. The opera differed from the usual representatives of the Viennese puppet and magic opera by the humanistic ideas represented by Sarastro and his council of priests. The priest scenes with their seriousness, which reveals the composer's membership in a Masonic lodge , while the staging of classical Viennese magic theater was missing, were initially only hesitantly appreciated by the audience. In one of his letters to his wife, Mozart even tells of a spectator who laughed at all the solemn scenes.

In part, Schikaneder's textbook was also blamed for this. In December 1791, for example, a correspondent's report from Vienna appeared in the Berliner Zeitung Musikalisches Wochenblatt , dated October 9, 1791, which said:

"The Magic Flute, with music by our Kapellmeister Mozard, which is given at great expense and with great splendor in the decorations, does not meet with the hoped-for applause, because the content and language of the piece are too bad."

18th and 19th centuries

The opera was performed for the first time in Prague on September 21, 1792, and in 1793 on various stages in Augsburg, Regensburg, Leipzig, Passau, Pest, Graz, Munich, Warsaw, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Linz and Hamburg. The performances in 1794 at the Mannheim National Theater and Goethe's production at the Weimar Court Theater on January 16, 1794 were particularly successful ; In 1797 the piece reached Saint Petersburg for the first time. The practice of translating the opera's libretto into the national language also began very early on. Exceptions to this are a production in Prague in 1794 and one in London in 1811, in which the opera was performed in Italian.

At the Paris Opera in 1801 a heavily edited and modified version was shown under the title Les Mystères d'Isis ("The Mysteries of Isis"). It was actually a pasticcio , for which Étienne Morel de Chédeville invented a new plot that was set in Egypt; the characters were renamed (the Queen of the Night was now called Myrrène, Tamino Isménor, Papageno Bochori, etc.), and Mozart's music was arranged by Ludovit Václav Lachnit , who also inserted excerpts from Don Giovanni , La clemenza di Tito and Le nozze di Figaro and mainly composed recitatives because spoken dialogues did not correspond to the customs of the Opéra. This production saw almost 130 performances by 1827 and then fell into oblivion. An original (French) version of the Magic Flute under the title La flute enchantée was only played in Paris in 1865 at the Théâtre lyrique du Châtelet .

In 1814 the score , which had previously only been distributed by hand, was printed for the first time.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel: Draft drawing for the stage set “The Magic Flute”, Schinkel Museum, Berlin

The Magic Flute was performed for the first time in Berlin in 1816. Karl Friedrich Schinkel created twelve fantastic stage sets of oriental landscapes, temples, gloomy vaults and starry shine for the appearance of the Queen of the Night with a star dome and a narrow crescent moon.

Beethoven , Hegel , Herder and Goethe were among the admirers of the Magic Flute. There is a continuation of the opera by Goethe, but it remained a fragment, as well as drafts for decorations. Schikaneder himself wrote a second part under the title The Labyrinth or the Struggle with the Elements , which was set to music by Peter von Winter . As early as 1807 , an attempt was made in Vienna to build on the international success of the Magic Flute, which had meanwhile been developing , with the performance of Die Zaubertrommel , a reworked and renamed older opera by musicians from Mozart's circle (libretto also by Schikaneder), but without success.

Tamino and Pamina. Depiction by Max Slevogt from 1920

20th century

To date, counts The Magic of the most performed worldwide Mozart operas. However, in non-German-speaking countries it was mostly shown in translated language versions until the 1980s (similar to the Abduction from the Seraglio ). In Miloš Forman's Amadeus , too , the passages from the Magic Flute are sung in English rather than German, whereas the scenes from Le nozze di Figaro are in Italian.

Fountain figure of Papageno at Papagenoplatz in Salzburg

In 1974 the film and theater director Ingmar Bergman produced a highly acclaimed film adaptation of The Magic Flute for Swedish television under the title Trollflöjten . Bergman used a Swedish version of the text, regrouped some scenes from Act 2, had his Magic Flute play in the studio replica of the Baroque theater at Drottningholm Palace and showed the outside of the theater and what was going on behind the stage in intercuts. During the overture, Bergman repeatedly shows the faces of an attentively listening audience. In September 1976, a few days after the city ​​of Frankfurt was awarded the Goethe Prize to the great Swedish director, the film was released in German cinemas. Bergman had worked with an ensemble of strikingly young singers. The musical direction lay with Eric Ericson , who, based on the findings of the original sound movement, produced a transparent Mozart sound that was contrary to the lush Mozart style that was still common at the time. Remarkable: Bergman sees the mortal enmity between Sarastro and the Queen of the Night under the aspect of a failed marriage.

The main belt asteroid (14877) The Magic Flute , discovered on November 19, 1990, was named after the opera in 1991 in view of the 200th anniversary of the opera.

21st century

On March 1, 2007, Martin Kušej re- staged the Magic Flute as a modern version at Zurich Opera House , with Jonas Kaufmann as Tamino, Julia Kleiter as Pamina, Ruben Drole as Papageno, Elena Moșuc as Queen of the Night and Matti Salminen as Sarastro. The performance under the musical direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt was broadcast live on the SF 1 and 3sat channels. At the same time, it was possible to follow what was going on behind the stage on SF Zwei and on the ZDFtheaterkanal . In addition, both the performance and the backstage broadcast could be followed on the Internet.

On April 26, 2008, the "Magic Flute in the U-Bahn" was premiered in Berlin in the Bundestag U-Bahn station on the U55 subway line, which was not yet in operation at that time, in a completely new staging, and in particular the Buffo character Papageno, which formed a strange contrast to Prince Tamino, transported into the modern age. The new texts written for this production came from the Berlin director Christoph Hagel , who was also the director and musical director.

In the new production of the opera at the Salzburg Festival in 2012, the "evil was Mohr " as in Mozart's autograph the first time M a (otherwise: M nostatos o nostatos) called.

Literature (selection)

  • Jan Assmann (Ed.): The Magic Flute. A literary opera companion. With the libretto of Emanuel Schikaneder and related fairy tale poems . Manesse Verlag, Munich 2012. Review ( FAZ )
  • Dietrich Berke : Foreword to the Urtext of the piano reduction of the New Mozart Edition: The Magic Flute . Bärenreiter Verlag, Kassel 2007.
  • Fritz Brukner (Ed.): The Magic Flute . Unknown manuscripts and rare prints from the early days of Mozart's opera, Gilhofer & Ranschburg publishing house, Vienna 1934.
  • Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth : Mozart's operas - everything from 'Apollo and Hyacinth' to the 'Magic Flute'
  • Attila Csampai , Dietmar Holland (ed.): The Magic Flute . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1982, ISBN 3-499-17476-6 (see also web links ).
  • Wilfried Kuckartz: The Magic Flute. Fairy tale and mystery . Publishing house Dr. Kovač, Hamburg 1996, ISBN 3-86064-482-3 .
  • Helmut Perl: The “Magic Flute” case . WBG, Darmstadt 2000, ISBN 3-254-00266-0 .
  • Helmut Perl: The "Magic Flute" case . Mozart and the Illuminati. Schott Music, 2016, ISBN 978-3-7957-8559-8 . ( limited preview in Google Book search)
  • The Magic Flute, part two under the title: The Labyrinth or the Struggle with the Elements . (Text book of the opera by Peter von Winter ) ed. by Manuela Jahrmärker and Till Gerrit Waidelich, Tutzing 1992.
  • David Buch: Die Zauberflöte, Masonic Opera, and Other Fairy Tales . In Acta Musicologica 76, 2004.
  • Jan Assmann: The Magic Flute. Opera and Mystery . Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-446-20673-6 , 383 pages. Reviews at Perlentaucher .
  • Frank Heinrich: The Mystery of the Magic Flute - Mozart's secret Masonic symbolic language . MdG-Verlag, 2005.
  • Leonardo J. Waisman: L'arbore di Diana y The Magic Flute. In: Vicente Martín y Soler. Un músico español en el Clasicismo europeo. Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (Colección Música Hispana. Textos. Series Biografías. 16), Madrid 2007, ISBN 978-84-89457-35-5 , pp. 596-598.

Recordings (selection)

Prominent historical recordings

More influential recordings

Current recordings

Film adaptations (selection)

Performances as video

Web links

Commons : Die Zauberflöte  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The original spelling of the name in Mozart's score is throughout “Manostatos”.
  2. a b Act II, Der Hoelle Rache (Moser, Sawallisch)  in the  audio archive - Internet Archive .
  3. E.g. 2009 in Wesseling ( documentation ), 2017 in Grabenstätt / Chiemsee ( picture galleries ), both accessed on December 11, 2019
  4. NMA II / 5/19: The Magic Flute. Sheet music edition. Gruber / Orel, 1970, p. 2.
  5. In it Mozart completely quotes Martin Luther's melody “ Oh God, from heaven see it ”, see text synopsis .
  6. Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 272ff
  7. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 273 (without the addition [...])
  8. Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 190 and 274
  9. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 273
  10. a b [Abbé Jean Terrasson], Séthos […] Ouvrage dans lequel on trouve la description des Initiations aux Mystères Égytiens, traduit d'un manuscrit Grec , 1731, nouvelle édition Paris 1767; Translation by Matthias Claudius , History of the Egyptian King Sethos , Breslau 1777/78; quoted from Jan Assmann 2005, p. 311. → Digitized version (first part 1777)
  11. Karl Ludwig Giesecke adapted or plagiarized the libretto Hüon und Amande by Friederike Sophie Seyler .
  12. ^ Peter Branscombe : WA Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, Cambridge University Press , 1991, p. 28; David J. Book: Magic Flutes and Enchanted Forests: The Supernatural in Eighteenth-Century Musical Theater, University of Chicago Press , 2008.
  13. Sieghart Döhring : The aria forms in Mozart's operas, in: Mozart Yearbook 1968/70, Salzburg 1970, p 66-76; Silke Leopold : Mozart, the opera and tradition, in Dieter Borchmeyer (Ed.): Mozarts Opernfiguren, Bern 1992, pp. 19–34; Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder : Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon, FA Herbig, Munich 2000, ISBN 978-3-7766-2478-6 , pp. 740, 924; Jan Assmann : The Magic Flute - Opera and Mystery, Hanser Verlag , Munich / Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-446-20673-6 , p. 152 f.
  14. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 237f
  15. digitized version
  16. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 241f
  17. ^ Johann Ph. Kirnberger, The art of pure sentence , Vol. 1, Berlin 1776; quoted from Jan Assmann 2005, p. 240f (with music examples) and 306
  18. Christoph-Hellmut Mahling : Die Zauberflöte , p. 273 in Mozart's operas , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth
  19. ^ Ulrich Schreiber : Opera guide for advanced learners. From the beginning to the French Revolution. 2nd Edition. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2000, ISBN 3-7618-0899-2 , p. 490
  20. Cf. Leonardo J. Waisman: L'arbore di Diana y The Magic Flute. In: Vicente Martín y Soler. Un músico español en el Clasicismo europeo. Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (Colección Música Hispana. Textos. Series Biografías. 16), Madrid 2007, ISBN 978-84-89457-35-5 , pp. 596-598.
  21. The case is still far rarer or The afflicted husbands (music by Benedikt Schak ).
  22. Cf. Memorie di Lorenzo Da Ponte (...) 2nd edition, 1st volume, part 2, Nuova-Jorca 1829 ( digitized version http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3Dzis6AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D), p. 102.
  23. Mozart contributed to the propaganda preparation of this conflict provoked by Empress Catherine II of Russia with the annexation of Crimea with the Abduction from the Seraglio .
  24. ^ Among other things, in the Austrian Netherlands ( Brabant Revolution ).
  25. Leopold II had banned Mozart's previous librettist, who was an ardent admirer of Joseph II, from Vienna. Cf. Memorie di Lorenzo Da Ponte (...) 2nd edition, 1st volume, part 2, Nuova-Jorca 1829 ( digitized version http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3Dzis6AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D), p. 114 ff.
  26. Cf. Beethoven's cantata on the death of Emperor Joseph II.
  27. see Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 149ff
  28. According to Jacques Chailley , Flûte enchantée , pp. 89-98, the five beats are characteristic of the female adoption lodges, in contrast to the (three times) three beats of the male lodges (quoted from Jan Assmann 2005, p. 318 note 1)
  29. David J. Buch: Die Zauberflöte, Masonic Opera, and other-fairy tales in Acta Musicologica , ISSN  0001-6241 , 2004, vol. 76, no. 2, pp. 193-219
  30. ^ Volkmar Braunbehrens : Mozart in Vienna . Piper Publishing House. ISBN 978-3-492-24605-7
  31. ^ Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon . Herbig Verlag, 5th edition, ISBN 978-3-7766-2478-6 . P. 920
  32. ^ Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon . Herbig Verlag, 5th edition, ISBN 978-3-7766-2478-6
  33. Jan Assmann 2005 and 2012
  34. a b Jan Brachmann, In the Secret Service of the Secret Religion (Review of Assmann 2012), accessed December 11, 2019
  35. a b The Secret of the “Magic Flute” or The Consequences of the Enlightenment by Attila Csampai (accessed December 11, 2019).
  36. Instead of “progressive” it actually says “progressive” - obviously one of several text errors in the article that probably arose when using automatic speech recognition software .
  37. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 92
  38. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 293
  39. Mozart to his wife Constanze, letter of June 12, 1791, quoted from Christoph-Hellmut Mahling: Die Zauberflöte. P. 260, in: Mozart's operas , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth.
  40. Christoph-Hellmut Mahling : Die Zauberflöte , p. 276ff., In: Mozarts Opern , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth.
  41. a b Christina Zech: Swarmed and banished femininity. On the image of women in WAMozart's Magic Flute on a musical and literary level. In: Viva Voce. Woman and music. Internationaler Arbeitskreis eV (Gender Research), No. 37, Kassel 1996, pp. 8–15.
  42. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 315 note 11 ("Stammtischanekdote"), with reference to Otto Rommel, Die Alt-Wiener Volkskomödie. Your story from the baroque world theater to the death of Nestroy , Vienna 1952, pp. 493ff and 979–991; also to Volkmar Braunbehrens , Mozart in Vienna. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1986, ISBN 3-492-02995-7 , pp. 401f
  43. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 90
  44. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 247f
  45. Video (accessed November 8, 2019); the two digits at 25:13 and from 31:20
  46. ^ Wilhelm Zentner, Introduction, in: WAMozart, Die Zauberflöte , Universal Library 2620, Reclam-Verlag Stuttgart, 1957, p. 6
  47. Brigid Brophy, Mozart the Dramatist, London 1964, 2nd ed. 1988, pp. 131-209; quoted from Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 132f and 337 note 15
  48. Jürgen Schläder: Magic Flute, The . In: Marc Honegger and Günther Massenkeil (eds.): The Great Lexicon of Music . tape 8 . Herder, Freiburg / Brsg. 1987, ISBN 3-451-20948-9 , pp. 398 .
  49. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 11f
  50. Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 133, 265f and 337 note 16, with reference to Karl-Heinz Köhler , The Magic Flute Wonder. An odyssey through two centuries , Wartburg-Verlag, Weimar 1996, ISBN 3-86160-109-5 , p. 22ff
  51. Jan Assmann 2005, p. 134
  52. Jan Assmann 2005, pp. 92-106
  53. ^ [Carl Friedrich Köppen], Crata Repoa or initiations in the old secret society of Egyptian priests , Berlin 1778; quoted from Jan Assmann 2005, p. 307. → Digitized version (edition from 1785)
  54. Jan Assmann 2005 passim , esp. Pp. 163–166 and 280f
  55. Jan Assmann 2005 p. 287ff
  56. Incorrectly capitalized in the article.
  57. Christoph-Hellmut Mahling: The Magic Flute. P. 263, in: Mozart's operas , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth.
  58. Christoph-Hellmut Mahling: The Magic Flute. P. 275, in: Mozart's operas , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth.
  59. "Damn it - do you want to grab D!" In: Der Tagesspiegel , January 9, 2006, accessed April 6, 2018.
  60. ^ Philippe Schneider: Foreword. In: Francesco Molino: 12 Variations and Introduction op. 31 on the aria “It sounds so wonderful” from the opera “The Magic Flute” by WA Mozart. For guitar solo, arranged by Jean-Paul Greub. Musikverlag Zimmermann, Frankfurt am Main 2000, p. 3.
  61. a b Zentner, Wilhelm, 1893-1982., Würz, Anton, 1903-1995 .: Reclam's opera and operetta guide . 28th edition. P. Reclam, Stuttgart 1969, ISBN 3-15-106892-8 .
  62. György Várallyay: Book Review: Környezet- és természetvédelmi lexikon (Encyclopaedia on Environment Protection and Nature Conservation) Editor-in-Chief: István Láng (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 2002 ISBN 963-05-7847-6 ; I. ISBN 963- 05-7848-4 , II. ISBN 963-05-7849-2 ) . In: Agrokémia és Talajtan . tape 51 , no. 1-2 , March 2002, ISSN  0002-1873 , pp. 293-295 , doi : 10.1556 / agrokem.51.2002.1-2.34 .
  63. Mozart's letter of August 8/9. October 1791 to his wife Constanze
  64. Quoted from Christoph-Hellmut Mahling: Die Zauberflöte. P. 282. In: Mozart's operas , ed. from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth. It is the original spelling. Mozart was actually written Mozard .
  65. Cf. Johann Friedrich Ernst von Brawe: Review of the "Magic Flute" performance in Hamburg on October 1, 1800. In: Raisonirendes Journal from the German Theater in Hamburg. 2nd piece (October 1800). Pp. 22-32.
  66. Les Mystères d'Isis was revived in 2016 by the Ensemble Le Concert Spirituel under Diego Fasolis . See: " Les Mystères d'Isis  : La Flûte enchantée comme vous ne l'avez jamais entendu, à la salle Pleyel", online at: franceinfo: culture (French; accessed on August 31, 2019)
  67. a b c Jean-Michel Vinciguerra: Les Mystères d'Isis ou l'Égypte antique d'après les décorateurs de l'Opéra: sur quelques acquisitions récentes du département de la Musique, article dated December 20, 2017, on the website of Bibliothèque nationale de France (French; accessed on August 31, 2019)
  68. Constantin von Wurzbach : Lachnith, Ludwig Wenzel . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 13th part. Kaiserlich-Königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1865, p. 463 f. ( Digitized version ).
  69. a b " Les Mystères d'Isis  : La Flûte enchantée comme vous ne l'avez jamais entendu, à la salle Pleyel", online at: franceinfo: culture (French; accessed on August 31, 2019)
  70. Annika Senger: From the fairy tale in the naked urbanity . Performance review. Online music magazine. Retrieved April 29, 2020.