Overture to the opera “THE MAGIC FLUTE”

Among W. A. MOZART’s achievements, a special place is occupied by the Overture to the opera “THE MAGIC FLUTE”. Koch’s nineteenth century Dictionary of Music and Musicians, after the definition of the entry „Overture” reads: „Among the most recent composers, Mozart with his „Magic Flute” is the only one to have completely avenged for the unfair contempt, to which the overture as a compositional form was apparently sub­ jected.”

Having professed, at an age as early as twelve, his involvement with at least two major operatic genres – the Italian Opera Buffa and the German Singspiel – Mozart went on to create an overall of twenty-two operas.

At the opening performance of “The Magic Flute” on 30 September 1791 the composer was anxiously anticipating less than enthusiastic welcome, but the performance ended with thunderous ovations.

The work became an operatic hit. Even composer Antonio Salieri and Viennese soprano Catherina Cavalieri evaluated it as “worthy to be performed during the stateliest celebra­ tions before the greatest of monarchs”. The opera’s success is attested by the number of performances it underwent – only for October 1791 they were twenty-four, within a year from the premiere – one hundred and by 1795 the had numbered two hundred.

Emanuel Schikaneder drew ideas for his libretto from several fairy stories. Because of the librettist, the opera was often described as “German”. It is based on motifs from Lulu or The Magic Flute, with characters and situations extracted from Friederike Sophie Seyler’s singspiel Oberon and details from Wieland’s trilogy Dschinnestan, as well as perhaps from an earlier Mozart work, Thamos, King of Egypt. There also exists a different story, namely that the author of the libretto was Karl Ludwig Giesecke. But this was his own allegation, and that made only after Schickaneder’s death, which prompted doubts in his credibility. From literary point of view, the libretto is not a good piece of writing. This fact, however, is offset by the spectacular stage contrasts, gradually accelerated pacing of action, without disruptions or collapses. In structural terms, it is dominated by Masonic symbolism: symmetry in the representation of the character, the significance of the number of three. The idea, upheld by Mozart – that Freemasonry, Humanity and Love will bring forth salvation – is enshrined in stylistically opulent music ranging from everyday simplicity to choral grandeur, recreated in every aspect of the music – from the melodic motif to emotionally charged tonalities.

Among the mysteries and legends surrounding the opera and the extraordinary personality of its composer, there persists the absurd speculation that Mozart was murdered by the Freemasons with mercuric chloride, precisely because he disclosed the secrets of the lodge through the imagery and music symbolism of “The Magic Flute”.

Какво търсиш днес?

Search in our website...