Die Zauberflöte had its premiere at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna on 30th September 1791, less than ten weeks before Mozart’s death. It has proved to be one of the most enduringly popular of all his works and has enchanted generations of opera-goers of all ages. In a fairy-tale allegory imbued with serious philosophical concerns, the opera combines ethereal music with earthy comedy to convey a message of hope for a better world.
In this guide, Nicholas Till writes about the background and genesis of the opera, locating it on the cusp of the Enlightenment and the beginnings of German Romanticism. Julian Rushton provides a detailed analysis of the score with numerous musical examples highlighting its many delights, and Hugo Shirley surveys the different and often bizarre permutations that the opera has undergone on stage since some of its very earliest performances through to the present day.
The guide contains the complete German libretto with a new English translation by Kenneth Chalmers and incorporates all the dialogue so frequently cut in performances. There are sixteen pages of illustrations, a musical thematic guide, a discography, a bibliography and DVD and website guides. The guide provides a perfect companion to opera-goers wishing to extend their understanding and increase their enjoyment of this much beloved work.