The Magic Flute

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Act I

    1 h 5 min.

  • Intermission

    20 min.

  • Act II

    1 h 10 min.

Duration: 2 h 35 min.

Opera in two acts
Libretto: Emanuel Schikaneder
World premiere: 30 September 1791, Vienna
Premiere: 11 December 2016
Production: Komische Oper, Berlin
In the original German 

The world premiere of The Magic Flute took place on 30 September 1791 in Vienna, with Mozart conducting. The opera was enthusiastically received, playing to a packed house every night. Mozart was so happy that he sold his horse, drank black coffee and smoked a pipe. He brought his mother-in-law, his seven-year-old son Carl, a French horn player friend, and even the envious Antonio Salieri to the theatre. The Magic Flute is ruled by the magic number three. There are three (repeated) chords in the intrada, Three Ladies, Three Boys, Sarastro’s three temples: Wisdom, Reason and Nature; the lovers Tamino and Pamina have to undergo three tests: silence, being apart, and fire and water. Even the production is the third staging of the opera at this theatre since it was rebuilt, after the ‘space’ version of Laco Adamik and the ‘school’ version of Achim Freyer. The current version’s director, Australia’s Barrie Kosky who is the artistic director of Berlin’s Komische Oper, has been a part of the opera world for over twenty years. He invited original British theatre group 1927 to work with him. Together, they have combined silent film, live video and live music, animation and pantomime. This kind of staging, in Barrie Kosky’s view, is close to the Viennese theatre of Emanuel Schikaneder, the man who inspired and wrote the libretto for The Magic Flute. Mozart confessed in a letter to his wife: ‘When I go to the piano and sing something from the opera, I have to stop right away – it affects me so’. Mozart was affected by something he’d created himself? Then what are we supposed to say? Don’t we wait with beating hearts for the aria of the Queen of the Night, the dance of Monostatos, or Papageno and Papagena’s duet?




  • ,


    In a dark forest, far away …

    As he flees from a dangerous giant serpent, Tamino is rescued at the last second by the three ladies who serve the Queen of the Night. When he regains conscio- usness, the first thing Tamino sees is Papageno, and he believes him to be his rescuer. Papageno, a bird catcher in search of love, does nothing to dispel the misunderstanding. The three la- dies return and punish Papageno for his lies by rende- ring him mute. They show Tamino a picture of Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, whom Tamino instantly falls in love with.Shortly thereafter, the Queen of the Night herself ap- pears and tells Tamino of her daughter’s kidnapping at the hands of Sarastro. Tamino responds with great enthusiasm to her command that he free Pamina. The three ladies give Papageno back his voice and instruct him to accompany Tamino. As a protection against danger, they give Tamino the gift of a magic flute, whi- le Papageno receives magic bells. The three ladies dec- lare that three boys will show Tamino and Papageno the way to Sarastro.

    Pamina is being importuned by Sarastro’s slave Mono- statos. Papageno, who has become separated from Ta- mino on the way to Sarastro, is as scared by the strange appearance of Monostatos as the slave is by Papage- no’s. Alone with Pamina, Papageno announces that her rescuer Tamino will soon arrive. Papageno himself is sad that his search for love has thus far proved fruit- less. Pamina comforts him.

    The three boys have led Tamino to the gates of Sara- stro’s domain. Although he is initially refused entry, Tamino begins to doubt the statements made by the Queen of the Night regarding Sarastro. He begins to play on his magic flute, and enchants nature with his music.

    Papageno meanwhile flees with Pamina, but they are caught by Monostatos and his helpers. Papageno’s ma- gic bells put their pursuers out of action. Sarastro and his retinue then enter upon the scene. Monostatos leads in Tamino. The long yearned-for encounter between Tamino and Pamina is all too brief. Sarastro orders that they must first face a series of trials.

  • ,


    The trial of silence

    Tamino and Papageno must practise being silent. Because of the appearance of the ladies and their warnings, their ordeal is a truly testing one. Tamino remains resolute, while Papageno immedia- tely begins to chatter.

    Meanwhile, Monostatos again tries to get close to the sleeping Pamina. The Queen of the Night appears and orders her daughter to kill Sarastro. Pamina remains behind, despairing. Sarastro seeks to console Pamina by foreswearing any thoughts of revenge.

    The trial of temptation

    Tamino and Papageno must resist any temptation: no conversa- tion, no women, no food! As well as the magic flute and magic bells the three boys also bring Tamino and Papageno food, which Tamino once again ste- adfastly resists. Even Pamina fails to draw a single word from Tamino’s lips, which she interprets as a rejection. She laments the cooling of Tamino’s love for her.

    Before the last great trial, Pamina and Tamino are brought together one last time to say farewell to one another. Papageno is not permitted to take part in any further trials. He now wishes for only a glass of wine – and dreams of his great love.

    For her part, Pamina believes that she has lost Tamino forever. In her despair, she seeks to end her own life, but is prevented from doing so by the three boys, who assure her that Tamino still loves her. Gladdened and relieved, Pamina accepts their invitation to see Tamino again. Reunited at last, Tamino and Pamina undergo the final trial together.

    The trial of fire and water

    The music of the magic flute and their love for one another allow Tamino and Pamina to conquer their own fear and overcome the dangers of fire and water.

    Papageno is meanwhile still unsuccessful in his search for his gre- at love. Despairing, he now also seeks to end his life, but is also prevented from doing so by the three boys. Papageno’s dream fi- nally comes true: together with his Papagena, he dreams of being blessed with many children.

    Meanwhile …

    … the Queen of the Night, the three ladies, and the turncoat Mo- nostatos arm themselves for an attack against Sarastro and his reti- nue. However, the attack is repelled.

    Tamino and Pamina have reached the end of their trials, and can finally be together


  • Sponsor of the premiere

  • Patron of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Media patrons of the premiere

  • Media patrons of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Logo Gazeta Wyborcza
  • Logo Co jest grane 24
  • Time is measured by