A Story Worth Singing (and Speaking!)
Mozart and Schikaneder penned their popular masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte, in 1791, just fifteen years after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.
Though it may seem an unlikely connection, I like to think that Mozart was full of the same pioneering spirit as those who had adventure and daring enough to leave Europe at the time, settle in a new land, and eventually travel across the country to tame the Wild West. With one fearless leap forward in the genre of musical storytelling, Mozart provided a bridge for the inspiration opera buffa, operetta, musical theater, and maybe even MTV!
THE BOLD LANDSCAPE OF MOZART'S MAGIC FLUTE
Here in Arizona, of course, we are a bold bunch – not afraid to speak our mind, unlikely to shrink from conflict, and eager to explore the exhilarating extremes of our desert home. The journey undertaken by Tamino and Papageno forces them out of their comfort zone, and encourages them to take risk in order to reap their rewards. Their achievement in self-discovery readies them to partner with Pamina and Papagena, which, in turn, begins another quest for each couple.
Mozart illuminates the full range of extreme human emotion in the phenomenal score of this fantastic tale. In the characters of the Queen of the Night and her nemesis, Sarastro, Mozart scales the heights and depths of the human vocal range. George Bernard Shaw famously stated that the arias of Sarastro were the only music ever composed that was suitable for the voice of God. Schikaneder’s libretto teases and tosses us between love, loss, patience, humility, pride, joy and anguish. The whimsical world that faces Tamino and Pamina is one of extremes.
Much like our own unique desert environment of draughts and monsoons, enchanting sunsets and unbelievable haboobs, the inhabitants of The Magic Flute occupy a wonderful landscape unlike any other – one of fairy spirits, magical instruments, and dangerous dragons. Composed originally not for the opera house, but for the public theater, this time-tested fan favorite is just as populist as it is high art, and it challenges the audience to reconnect with our childhood, test our imagination, and examine our deepest desires in a bold, wild world.
We’re grateful to have you share this magical, mysterious journey with us!