The Magic Flute
Music: W.A.Mozart
Written in: Authored Date:

Act 1

The Magic Flute combines three worlds; the order and structure of Sarastro’s society; the passion and magic of the Queen of Night; and the humanity of Papageno, the Everyman who represents us all. Into these conflicting worlds are thrown Tamino and Pamina who overcome the trials set them to make their own start in the world.

Prince Tamino stumbles, by accident, into the feud between Sarastro and the Queen of Night, whose daughter Pamina has been kidnapped by Sarastro. Given her portrait by the Queen’s Three Ladies, Tamino vows to save Pamina. Accompanied by Papageno and with the Magic Flute and miraculous chimes to guard them, they are taken by the Wise Ones (the ‘Genii’) into Sarastro’s palace.

There, Papageno foils an attempt by Monostatos, Sarastro’s henchman, to rape Pamina. She, Pagagena and Tamino are eventually found by Sarastro’s people and Sarastro orders them into the temple to begin their trials.

Act 2

Sarastro and his priests sing a hymn to Isis. Tamino and Pagageno are warned by the Priests that if they are to succeed in their trials they must speak to no women until the trials are over. The Three Ladies appear to tempt them to speak but their efforts are in vain. With Tamino and Papageno occupied elsewhere, Monostatos again attempts to attack Pamina but this time is prevented by the intervention of the Queen of Night. The Queen, vowing revenge on Sarastro, tells Pamina that she must kill him. As Monostatos creeps back towards her she is saved by the arrival of Sarastro who sends Monostatos away, vowing that he will join the Queen’s court. Sarastro sings of the nobility of friendship and leads Pamina into the temple.

Papageno, miserable that he has no-one to love him, meets an old woman, and after he has agreed to marry her is transformed into Papagena, the girl he has been promised as a wife. She is whisked away by the priests until he, too, has undergone the trials. Pamina enters, so much in despair that she wishes to kill herself but is stopped by the Wise Ones, who lead her away. Tamino is questioned by the Armed Men about his readiness to undergo the trials. He vows he will be steadfast and is overjoyed when Pamina is brought in to accompany him. Together they go through the trials of fire and water to reach the light of which Sarastro and the chorus sing. Papageno, however, convinced that he has lost his love is about to hang himself. Again the Wise Ones intervene and bring in Papagena. The two sing a joyous duet about the large family they will raise!

At night, outside the Temple, the Queen of Night and the Three Ladies meet Monostatos who has joined them to plot their next move. They are found by Sarastro and his Armed Men and are routed. The chorus sings praises to Isis and Osiris and to the Flute’s ‘magic sound’ (rather forgetting that it was the Queen of Night who gave it to Tamino!) Pamina and Tamino, united at last, leave Sarastro’s Temple to make their own way and their own world.

The Magic Flute, June 2002, Nuffield Theatre

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