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Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte is the greatest example of Singspiel (a play with songs), but his rival Salieri called it an operone (a great opera) when it was premiered in Vienna in 1791. The libretto is by Emanuel Schikaneder, a successful actor and theatre manager, who also played the role of Papageno in the original cast.
Schikaneder and Mozart were members of the same Masonic lodge, and the strong Masonic elements and misogynistic undercurrent pose interesting challenges for directors in today’s sexual-political climate. However, the overriding themes of the opera are good versus evil, the search for wisdom and the power of reason. The sublime range of musical ideas and inventiveness has led to the work becoming one of the most performed in the operatic repertoire.
Sung in German.