Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) K.620 Overture is the second piece to appear hear from Mozart’s famous Opera. This is so good. It premiered just 2 months prior to the composer’s death. A synopsis of the Opera can be found in my previous post – Queen of the Night Aria. The Opera was the culmination of a period of increasing involvement by Mozart with Schikaneder’s theatrical troupe.
Schikaneder was a self-proclaimed singer-dancer-playwright-impresario-etcetera who had become the manager of the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, a venue for entertaining the common folks with less-than highbrow acts – a bit like Broadway shows mixed with vaudeville antics. This is depicted towards the end of the movie Amadeus. His Kinship with Mozart apart from their mutual feelings of being snubbed by the Viennese elite, was also owed to their Masonic brotherhood, a secret society of enlightenment that was viewed in Mozart’s day as hostile to the Roman Catholic Church and even the State. It’s no surprise, then, to find that the plot of The Magic Flute, though clothed in fairy tales, is an allegorical story pitting the Masons against the Church, or perhaps against the late Austrian Empress Maria Theresa who condemned the secret society.
Mozart conducted the Opera when it premiered in 1791 and the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart’s sister-in-law Josepha Hofer.
On the reception of the opera, Mozart scholar Maynard Solomon wrote: ‘It was immediately evident that Mozart and Schikaneder had achieved a great success, the opera drawing immense crowds and reaching hundreds of performances during the 1790s‘
Wolfgang wrote the following to his father as shown in the video below:
‘You know of my greatest longing – to write Operas. Do not forget my wish to write Operas! I am envious of every man who composes one‘