The Magic Flute: Paris Opera

The Magic Flute ©Emilie Brouchon

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Celebrate Mozart's operatic depiction of pain and comfort, day triumphing over night, and the path of righteousness: The Paris Opera presents Mozart's final opera, 'The Magic Flute' in a production by Robert Carsen.

At once a magical tale, a popular comedy, a philosophical fable, a religious mystery, and a masonic opera, Die Zauberflöte is an opera that speaks to audiences at many levels in many ways.

'The Magic Flute' is a singspiel, or singing play, in two acts by Mozart. The premiere took place on 30 September 1791 at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, two months before the composer died. 'The Magic Flute' initially seems an amusing fairytale, in which good triumphs over evil. Upon closer inspection, the opera is revealed to be a deeply philosophical work, influenced by the democratic ideals of the Enlightenment.

Act 1
Set in the ancient world: Prince Tamino is attacked by a serpent, and is saved by three ladies, the servants of the Queen of the Night. The ladies show Tamino a portrait of the queen’s daughter, Pamina. The Queen of the Night promises Tamino her daughter's hand, if he can rescue her from the evil Sarastro. Tamino agrees, and is given a magic flute by the three ladies. Papageno, a bird catcher, will accompany Tamino, and is also given a gift of magic bells.

By the power of the magic flute and bells, Tamino meets Pamina. They fall in love with each other immediately. Sarastro is revealed not as an evil man, but as high priest of the Sun. He has protected Pamina from her mother, whose ambition is to dominate the world.

Act 2
Sarastro imposes three tests on Tamino. The first is the test of silence. When Tamino falls silent, Pamina, who knows nothing of the tests, is sorrowful, but they can endure this test. The scond test, 'Fire', and the third, 'Water' can be overcome with the help of the magic flute.

Papageno is also tested, but is unable to endure the tests. However, he can meet his beloved, Papagena, through the power of the magic bells.

The Queen of the Night is furious and tries to break into the temple of Sarastro. Hit by a thunderbolt, she is sent to hell. Sarastro blesses the union of Tamino and Pamina.

Performed in German, with French and English surtitles.

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