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The Magic Flute

The History

The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s most popular operas. Mozart wrote it in 1791 - a year when he was not making any money and felt like the world didn't appreciate him. His friend Emanuel Schikaneder had the idea that they work together on an opera about magic which was very popular in Vienna at the time. Schikaneder wrote the libretto (script) in German and Mozart wrote the music. Mozart conducted the first performance and it was a hit!

The Story

The opera begins with a Prince named Tamino running away from a giant monster. He faints but is saved by three ladies who are the servants of the Queen of the Night. Tamino wakes up and sees Papageno, a strange bird catcher. Tamino thinks that it was Papageno who saved him, and Papageno is glad to take the credit so the two become friends. The three ladies return and explain that they were the ones who saved Tamino, and they give him a picture of Pamina, the Queen of the Night's daughter.  Tamino falls in love with Pamina as soon as he sees the picture. The Queen of the Night arrives and tells Tamino that her daughter has been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Sarastro. She promises that if Tamino can rescue Pamina, he can marry her. The Queen gives Tamino a magic flute and Papageno a set of magic  bells to help them with the rescue. 

Tamino and Papageno arrive at Sarastro's temple (castle) ready to rescue Pamina. Then they discover that the princess is safe and that Sarastro is kind and wise. They have been tricked by the Queen, who turns out to be the evil one. Sarastro explains that he kidnapped Pamina to keep her safe from her evil mother, the Queen of the Night.


Tamino and Pamina fall in love but  Sarastro tells Tamino he must pass three tests to prove that he deserves to be with Pamina. The tests are silence, fire and water. Papageno is also promised a wife if he helps Tamino pass the tests. Tamino and Papageno set out to pass the tests.


Meanwhile, The Queen appears before Pamina and tries to convince her to kill Sarastro but she is not successful. 


Tamino and Pamina meet again, but because it is during the test of silence he is not allowed to talk to her.  Pamina is afraid that Tamino doesn't love her anymore. Three spirits reassure Pamina that Tamino does love her and Tamino passes the first test. Tamino and Pamina are able to do the second tests, water and fire, together.  The magic flute helps them to be successful and pass the tests.


While Tamino and Pamina are doing the tests, Papageno plays his magic bells and the girl of his dreams, Papagena, appears. Papageno and Papagena sing a duet that shows they are perfectly matched.


The Queen of the Night is really angry that everyone is in love and happy and she comes back to destroy Sarastro's temple. But she fails is sent away to live in darkness forever.  Everyone is thankful and all is well.  They watch the sunrise together and live happily ever after.

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