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Mozart, Die Zauberflöte: Mozart's Singspiel

By Lindsay Miller and Emily Szillat

The Magic Flute Score

The Riemenschneider Bach Institute (RBI) holds several full opera scores. One is Mozart’s The Magic Flute, a popular German Singspiel that is one of Mozart’s most well-known operas.

The Magic Flute

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. He was a child prodigy, touring Europe as a violinist and pianist with his father growing up. Being one of the first freelance musicians to date, Mozart had a lot of freedom with the kinds of music he composed. He wrote symphonies, chamber music, piano music, sonatas, concertos, and operas. Some of his other most famous operas he wrote included Le nozze di Figaro (1785) and Don Giovanni (1787). He wrote The Magic Flute late in his career; its opening date occurred in 1791 and then Mozart died that same year. He was only 35 years old when he passed away.

The Magic Flute is a Singspiel written in two acts. While Mozart wrote the score, the libretto was written by Emanuel Schikaneder. The opera premiered at the Theater auf der Wieden, a theatre located in Vienna, on September 30, 1791. Mozart was also working on La clemenza di Tito around the same time, which premiered before The Magic Flute. People of differing social classes attended these performances to good reviews and praise. 

This opera includes the famous “Queen of the Night” Aria, which is performed by the villain of The Magic Flute, the Queen of the Night. The main characters include Sarastro (Priest of the Sun, bass), Tamino (a Prince, tenor), Pamina (the Queen’s daughter, soprano), and the Queen of the Night (coloratura soprano). Tamino is sent on a quest by the Queen of the Night to save Pamina, who has been captured by Sarastro. While on this quest, Tamino decides to join Sarastro’s community and begins a set of trials alongside Pamina in order to be accepted. They are able to defeat the Queen of the Night. Sarastro’s community ends the final act by celebrating.