Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute

The genius of Mozart shines with beautiful melodies, a show-stopping vocal display by the Queen of the Night and charming characters in a land of enchantment. Mozart’s delightful blend of light-hearted comedy and solemn drama will captivate young and old alike.

When the Queen of the Night’s daughter, Princess Pamina, is kidnapped by a sorcerer, hero Prince Tamino, armed only with a magic flute, is joined by the flamboyant bird catcher, Papageno, in a quest to save the Princess. They endure unpredictable, death-defying trials as they battle Sarastro and deal with a treacherous Queen. The Magic Flute blends myth and enchantment as it highlights the fight between good and evil, confirming that love conquers all.

Sung in German with English translations projected above the stage.

Feb. 7 - 9, 2014 Carol Morsani Hall
Sponsor

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Show Dates & Times

Fri., Feb. 7 • 8 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 9 • 2 p.m.

Meet The Artists

JONATHAN BOYD (Prince Tamino) continually performs throughout Europe, North America and South America. Upcoming engagements include his Seattle Opera debut as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, his  San  Diego Opera  debut in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick as Ishmael, and the title role of Candide at the Portland Opera. Noted European engagements over the past few seasons include debuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Teatro Colón in a live television broadcast as Werther; and his role debut as Alfredo in La Traviata with Akouna, Opéra en plein air in France. Most recent North American engagements from the past few seasons include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Dallas  Opera; Roméo in Roméo et Juliette at the Utah Symphony & Opera, Nashville Opera and Michigan Opera Theater. Boyd has an extensive repertoire in 20th Century operas including Michigan Opera Theatre’s world premiere of Margaret Garner as George Hancock, and New York City Opera’s productions of Mother of Us All and Central Park. Composer Lee Hoiby personally chose Mr. Boyd for the role of Romeo in his opera Romeo and Juliet, which he subsequently sang in the semi-staged performances at the Opera America convention in Vancouver, as well as with New York City Opera, Stamford Symphony in Connecticut, and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center.

AARON ST. CLAIR NICHOLSON (Papageno) has established himself as an artist of the first rank, winning praise for his superb vocal gifts and the dramatic integrity he brings to his performances. The San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed “…as Ford, baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson gave a virtuosic display of vigorous full-throated singing and all out physical comedy.” He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Schaunard in La Bohème conducted by Placido Domingo, and has since performed there as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. Throughout his career, Nicholson has garnered much praise for his portrayals as opera’s most well-known characters, which include countless performances as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the title role in Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. As an alumnus of the Glimmerglass Opera’s Young Artist Program, Nicholson starred as Lt. Lukash in their productions of The Good Soldier Schweik and as Sonora in La Fanciulla del West. The Abbotsford, British Columbia, native was also a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Seattle Opera’s young artist program.

SARI GRUBER (Princess Pamina) has been hailed as “nothing short of sensational” by Opera magazine and “a real creature of the stage” by Opera News. Her voice has been described as “luminous” and “show-stopping great”. A prized artist on the international stage, she has garnered praise for her “shining soprano and vibrant presence” (Opera News), her “direct musicality” (New York Times), as well as her “detailed, charming, resourceful and sympathetic” characterizations (Boston Herald). Recent highlights include performances as Leila in The Pearl Fishers with Hawaii Opera Theater; Musetta in La Bohème with Opera Colorado; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; and the North American premiere of two works for soprano and strings by Baldassarre Galuppi. She has given recitals across the country under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Other credits include a pre-concert recital of Copland’s Poems of Emily Dickinson with the New York Philharmonic.

SANG-EUN LEE (Queen of the Night) specializes in the high coloratura soprano repertoire with a range of more than three octaves as well as in bel canto style and early music. She recently performed Gilda in Rigoletto with Virginia Opera. With the Korea National Opera, she played the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly. She has performed Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Theater of Lakeland, Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Madam Goldentrill in The Impressario, and Gilda with International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, France and Japan. Future engagements include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor in Hong Kong; and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte in Angers Nantes Opera in France. She is a winner in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Eastern Region. Ms. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Seoul National University, and a master’s degree in music from Mannes College of Music. In addition to this, she completed a one-year professional studies course at the Manhattan School of Music.

JAMES MOELLENHOFF (Sarastro) has established himself as one of the most sought-after basses of our time. Hailed for his sonorous voice and dignified, moving characterization of roles such as Gurnemanz in Parsifal, Zaccaria in Nabucco and Boris Godunov, he is equally well known for his comedic gifts in roles such as Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and the intensity of his villainous portrayals of Hagen in Götterdämmerung and Sparafucile in Rigoletto. Moellenhoff returned last season to Oper Leipzig where he performed in new productions as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Fafner in Das Rheingold, Daland in Der fliegende Holländer and Mangiafuoco in Pierangelo Valtinoni’s Pinocchio. In 2007 he made his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut as Hagen under Maestro Antonio Pappano. In 2008, Moellenhoff took the stage for the first time at Deutsche Oper in Berlin singing Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. His engagements have also taken him to Bern, Lucerne, Bremen, Mannheim, and Salzburg. Equally at home on the concert stage, Moellenhoff’s varied concert repertoire includes, among others, Haydn’s Creation, Händel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Beethoven’s 9th,  Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi.

ARILA SIEGERT (Director) has a background in expressionist dance, known in Germany as Ausdruckstanz. She studied with Gret Palucca at the Palucca School in Dresden. In 1970 she worked as a dancer for the first time under Tom Schilling, artistic director and choreographer at the famous Komische Oper Berlin founded by Walter Felsenstein. By 1979 she had moved up to become soloist at the Staatsoper Dresden (now Semperoper). She started producing her own works very early on and in 1987 she founded her first dance company at the Staatsschauspiel Dresden. In 1998 she directed her first opera, Verdi’s Macbeth. She has since directed more than 40 opera productions including Idomeneo, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Clemency of Titus and The Magic Flute. She also directed Der Freischütz, The Barber of Seville, The Flying Dutchman, Aida, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin, The Makropoulos Affair and most recently Jenůfa. In 1989, Siegert was awarded the Deutscher Kritikerpreis for dance and in 1993 was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit) of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2010 she became a member of the General Meeting of the Goethe-Institut. Her work is preserved in the archives of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

DANIEL LIPTON is widely regarded as one of today’s most exciting and creative conductors, whose superb performances of opera and the concert repertoire have gained him international acclaim. He was appointed music director and chief conductor of the Anhaltische Philharmonie and general music director of the opera company in Dessau, Germany. He became artistic director of Opera Ontario, Canada, and presented the Canadian premieres of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, Verdi’s I Due Foscari and Massenet’s Portrait de Manon, along with other major operas. Under Lipton’s direction, Opera Ontario has enjoyed not only the highest artistic accolades, but also notable financial success, while greatly expanding the audiences in the process. He has been primarily responsible for the growth of Opera Ontario, making it one of Canada’s most important and artistically innovative companies. His annual POPERA™ galas have met with widespread popularity and acclaim. Before his time in Ontario, Lipton was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Colombia in Bogotà and conducted 33 programs a year with them. In Colombia he rebuilt the symphony orchestra and created a national opera company. He was appointed artistic director of the Opera de Colombia and produced 30 operas. Both organizations were raised to the highest international standard of performance because of his unwavering commitment to excellence. Previous posts include music director with Houston Grand Opera and artistic director of the San Antonio Festival. He has also held positions with the Zürich Opera, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna and Florence, American Ballet Theatre and the Denver Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he was appointed artistic director of the EurOrchester for the European Classic Festival, (Triennale) for which he has conducted during the past 11 years.

About the Show

Synopsis:

ACT I
A young prince named Tamino is being chased by a serpent through a valley. After he falls unconscious, three ladies emerge from a temple and kill the snake. Tamino awakens and assumes the snake was killed by a good-natured bird catcher named Papageno who has just arrived on the scene. When Papageno accepts the credit, the three ladies reappear and place a padlock on his lips. They then show Tamino a picture of Pamina, the beautiful daughter of their mistress, the Queen of the Night. He immediately falls in love with her. They then tell him she has been kidnapped by the evil magician Sarastro. The Queen appears and asks Tamino to rescue Pamina, which he agrees to do. The ladies free Papageno and give him a magic set of chimes. They also give Tamino a magic flute and send the two off on their mission. Pamina is being guarded by a villain named Monostatos, who is attempting to seduce her when Papageno wanders in. Frightened, Monostatos runs off, leaving Papageno to tell Pamina that her rescuer is close by. Tamino is being led through Sarastro’s realm by three boys. He tries to enter the three temple
doors, but is turned away from two. At the third, he is greeted by a priest, who tells him the Queen is really the evil one and the good Sarastro was merely trying to get Pamina away from her mother’s dark influence. Tamino rushes off to find Pamina; a moment later, she and Papageno enter, pursued by Monostatos. Papageno plays his magic bells, rendering the villain
and his henchmen harmless. Sarastro enters and tells Pamina she is free to marry but not to return to her mother. Tamino is brought in by Monostatos, who demands a reward from Sarastro but instead gets punished.

ACT II
Sarastro informs the priests of Isis and Osiris about what is going on and explains that Tamino and Papageno are about to undergo the rites of initiation to determine if they are worthy to enter the Temple of Light. Tamino, who is brave, and Papageno, who is not, receive contradictory counsel from the priests and the Queen of the Night’s three ladies, but they decide to follow the priests, who take away the flute and bells from the pair. Monostatos attempts one last seduction of Pamina, but he is interrupted by the Queen who comes to her daughter and demands that she murder Sarastro. Instead, Pamina goes to Sarastro and begs forgiveness for her mother; he agrees, declaring that only love, not vengeance, will lead to peace and happiness. As part of their tests, both Tamino and Papageno are sworn to silence. An old woman approaches Papageno declaring that she is really 18 years old and in love with him. She runs away, but three boys appear and give back to Tamino and Papageno the magic flute and bells. Pamina arrives, but she misunderstands Tamino’s silence and is heartbroken. Sarastro reassures her, but she is not comforted. Papageno says that he wants a sweetheart, and the old woman returns and reveals herself to be a young woman in disguise. Her name: Papagena. As soon as she reveals herself, however, a priest orders her away. Meanwhile, Pamina is about to commit suicide using the dagger her mother gave her to kill Sarastro. The three boys stop her and take her to Tamino, who is about to undergo the final trial. Pamina and Tamino go through the ordeal together, emerging unscathed thanks to the magic flute. Papageno rather reluctantly attempts to hang himself. Seeing this, the three boys suggest he play his magic bells. He does and Papagena appears; the two declare their intent to raise a large family. Meanwhile, Monostatos has joined forces with the Queen of the Night, but their plan to kill Sarastro is foiled by an earthquake. The opera ends with Sarastro, Tamino, and Pamina celebrating the victory of light over darkness.

Musical Selections from Mozart’s The Magic Flute
These are most of the musical selections you will hear during the opera with a brief explanation of the scene.

Act I

# 1: Overture  
Listen for the three chords that are played at the beginning of the overture and note when the three chords are heard again.

# 2: Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe! (Oh help me! Protect me!)
In Tamino’s aria, he sings: “Oh help me, protect me, my power forsake me! The treacherous serpent will soon overtake me. . . . Oh rescue me, protect me, save me, rescue me.” 

# 3: Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (I am a man of wide-spread fame)
This is Papageno’s famous folk song where he sings: “I am a man of widespread fame, and Papageno is my name.  To tell you all in simple words; I make my living catching birds. . . I’d like to fill my net with all the pretty girls I’ve met.” 
 
# 4: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (O image angel-like and fair!)
In this aria by Tamino, he sings of his infatuation with Pamina: “O image angel like and fair! No mortal can with thee compare! I feel it, I feel it how this godly sight pervades my heart with new delight. I can not name this strange desire which burns my heart with glowing fire.”   

# 5: O zitre nicht, mein leider Sohn!  (Oh tremble, not, my son arise)
In this aria the Queen of the Night sings of her grief over her daughter Pamina’s capture by the evil Sarastro.  “An evil fiend tore her from me.  How helpless she cowered, her strength over-powered! What sad consternation! What vain desperation! . . . For all my efforts were too weak.”

# 6: Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen  (The man who feels sweet love’s emotion)
In this duet, Papageno and Pamina sing of their desire to find their true loves.  “Each  maid must share his deep devotion, and from this duty never part.  The joys of love shall be our own.  We live by love, by love alone.”

Act II

# 7:  O Isis und Osiris (O Isis and Osiris)
In this aria and chorus, Sarastro and chorus members sing of their desire that Tamino and Pamina discover the right path to seek The Truth.  “O Isis and Osiris favor this noble pair with wisdom light! Grant them your aid in their endeavor.  Lead them to find the path of right . Let them be strong against temptation . . . Take them to your abode on high.”
  
# 8: Bewahret euch von Weibertücken (Beware of womanly wiles)
The priests advise Tamino and Papageno of the dangers ahead of them, warn them of women's wiles and swear them to silence

# 9:  Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden (All the world is full of lovers)
In this aria, Monostatos laments of his loneliness in never having a girlfriend. “All the world is full of lovers, man and maiden, bird and bee.  Why am I not like the others?  No one ever looks at me!”

# 10:  Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (The wrath of hell within my breast I
cherish)
In this classic aria, the Queen of the Night sings of her anger that Tamino has failed and
Sarastro still has her daughter.  “The wrath of hell within my breast I cherish; death,
desperation, death, desperation prompt, the oath I swore.  If by your hand Sarastro does not perish . . . then as my child I know you nevermore.”

# 11:  In deisen heilgen Hallen (Within these holy portals)
In this aria, Sarastro sings of Tamino and Pamina’s journey.  “Within these holy portals,
revenge remains unknown, and to all erring mortals, their way by love is shown.”

# 12:  Seid uns zum zweitenmal willkommen  (Here in Sarastro’s hallowed border)
In this trio, the three spirits (genii) welcome Tamino and Papageno into Sarastro’s temple.

# 13:  Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden (Ah, I feel, to grief and sadness)
In this touching aria, Pamina sings of her pain from being rebuffed by Tamino during his vow of silence.  “Ah, I feel, to grief and sadness, ever turned is love’s delight.  Gone forever joy and gladness.  In my heart reigns mournful night.”

# 14: O Isis und Osiris (O Isis and Osiris!)
The chorus and Sarastro sing of what is to come for Tamino.  “The noble youth through
suffering recreated. Shall be to holy office consecrated.”

# 15:  Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (I’d give my finest feather)
Papagena sings of his heart’s desire to find his “little Papagena.”  “I’d give my finest feather to find a pretty wife. Two turtledoves together, we’d share a happy life!”   

# 16:  Papagena!  (Pa–, pa–, pa–)
Papageno and Papagena sing of their life together and building a happy family.  “Now I will be thine forever…come be my little starling . . . and their grace on us bestowing, will send us tiny children dear.”

# 17:  Die Strahlen der Sonne (The sun’s radiant glory has vanquished the night)
Sarastro and chorus sing of the triumphant of good

Program notes by Gene Cropsey, Opera Tampa League member

While visiting Salzburg in 1780, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart became acquainted with Emanuel Schikaneder, actor, singer, playwright, and producer, as well as manager of the resident theatrical troupe at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.  Both were Freemasons and attended lodge meetings together.  In spite of restrictions placed on the Masonic Order by Austria’s Joseph II, they maintained a devout belief in Masonic principles.  This mutual interest was the impetus that brought them together to work on The Magic Flute Die Zauberflöte — which they did  “very busily,” as librettist Schikaneder described their collaboration.  In accordance with their belief in the brotherhood of the Masons, the opera likewise presents Freemasonry as the hope for universal brotherhood transcending the class system of eighteenth-century Europe. They made no secret of the fact that the Temple’s brotherhood in the opera represents the Freemasons.  The glorification of Masonry did not win the opera any popularity in official circles, but the general public enjoyed the stage tricks, the comedy and the music.

The sources of the The Magic Flute libretto are many.  The opera shares much of it’s plot and characters with Singspiels* written earlier for the Schikaneder troupe.  Bits of popular plays with spoken dialogue and child-like fairy-tale plots were transformed into a profound work whose scope includes religion, philosophy, love, comedy, and a suicide attempt, as well as some slapstick.

The Magic Flute premiered on September 30, 1791 at the Freihaustheater auf der Wieden in Vienna, a mere ten weeks before Mozart’s death.  It was the composer’s first opera written specifically for a popular venue, rather than a court theater.  Mozart referred to the work as a “German Opera,” while the first printed libretto called it a Singspiel.  At the premiere, Mozart was seated at a keyboard instrument as he conducted and played along with the orchestra.  The singers Mozart had assembled included both virtuosi and ordinary comic actors asked to sing for the occasion.  He had fashioned his music to fit the particular musical abilities of the available singers.  The vocal lines for Papageno were sung by Schikaneder himself, and Mozart’s sister-in-law, Josepha Hofer, premiered the role of the Queen of the Night.  Also, Mozart helped the less musically inclined singers by doubling them with instruments.

There were no written reviews of the first performances of The Magic Flute, but it was evident that Mozart and Schikaneder had achieved a monumental success.  The opera drew immense crowds and reached hundreds of performances during the 1790s.  The success of the opera lifted the Mozarts’ spirits when he had fallen ill while in Prague a few weeks after the premiere.  His delight was reflected in his letters to his wife, Constanze.

“I have this moment returned from the opera, which was as full as ever,” he wrote on October 7, listing the numbers that had to be encored.  “But what always gives me the most pleasure is the silent approval!  You can see how much this opera is becoming more and more esteemed.”  Following the premiere, Mozart went to see his opera almost every night, taking along friends and relatives.

According to several reported accounts, The Magic Flute is presently the fourth most frequently performed opera world-wide.  Some modern performances, however, stretch the imagination.  One of these was the unforgettable Zagreb (Croatia) Opera’s 1970 production of the Magic Flute in modern dress.  It featured the Queen of the Night as a feather-boa-ed Chicago Moll in a white Rolls Royce accompanied by corrupt capitalist gangsters opposed to Sarastro’s good Communist Blacks.

In 2006, actor Kenneth Branagh made a film version of The Magic Flute.  It was released in Europe, but it did not come to the United States until June 9, 2013, when it was shown in 150 theaters across the country.  The film’s revised libretto transports the opera to the First World War.  According to Branagh, “It is a historical event in which the conflict between good and evil, the light and the dark, really resonates, I think, with the thematic values of The Magic Flute.”

The Magic Flute premiered at His Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, London on June 6, 1811, and in New York at The Park Theater on April 17, 1833.
 
*Singspiel:  A German form of opera, corresponding to opéra comique, often with spoken dialogue.  


 

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