Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
A German opera in 2 acts
Libretto by von Emanuel Schikaneder
First performed September 30 1791, Freihaustheater auf der Wieden, Vienna
Performed in German with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) in the Holzfoyer 30 mins before performances begin and available here on video shortly before opening night
»We wander through the realm of music, safely through death’s dismal night.« (Pamina & Tamino)
The first new Die Zauberflöte for 24 years is directed by Ted Huffman. Scorned as a »piece of invention« and hailed as a »masterpiece«, the work, performed for the first time in 1791, still fascinates, not least because of its puzzling nature: comedy and charm, fairy tale and mystery play are combined with somnambulistic ease. Emotional truth lies in unreality, philosophical wisdom in childlike naivety.
Central to the plot is the obstacle strewn love story of Tamino and Pamina: The Queen of the Night promises Tamino her daughter Pamina if he rescues her from Sarastro’s clutches. Once in his realm, Tamino learns the truth about the Queen. He and Papageno must undergo trials before being allowed to join Sarastro’s Order of Wisdom, only then can he marry his love. Pamina turns her back on her mother too, torn between hope, despair, a longing for love and death, in the end it is she who guides Tamino through his final trial.
Die Zauberflöte’s enchantment is explained not least because »its music created its own myth.« (Dieter Borchmeyer). Tamino’s flute helps him tame wild animals and turn hostility into brotherly love. The music also plays an important role during the final trials of fire and water: Pamina and Tamino conquer both with the help of the magic flute, as well as their greatest fear – the fear of death.