An initiatory fable
Mozart’s last opera can be heard as a wonderful children’s tale or as the most ardent meditation on human existence. Combining the magical, the Masonic ritual and the sentimental adventure, this opera takes the form of an initiatory fable. Director Robert Carsen is inspired by the words of the composer in a famous letter to his father and delivers an elegant and refined Magic Flute, a dark jewel that tames Death to make it « our best friend », reassuring and consoling.
The adventures of Prince Tamino
The Magic Flute tells the adventures of Prince Tamino, who left for the kingdom of Sarastro to deliver the beautiful Pamina, kidnapped from her mother, the Queen of the Night. Accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno, he will have to go through a whole series of strange ordeals which will make him meet benevolent geniuses, sibylline priests, or even three exhilarated ladies… In The Magic Flute, a prince from a distant land in search of an imprisoned princess, a giant serpent, a swaggering bird catcher, a Queen of the Night and a High Priest imposing strange rites of passage meet.
Created in 1791
How to understand Mozart’s last opera, created in Vienna in 1791, two months before his death ? As a wonderful children’s tale, as a reflection of Mozart and his librettist Schikaneder’s membership in Freemasonry, or as the most ardent meditation on human existence? Director Robert Carsen tries to overcome the Manichaeism of the libretto – the opposition between Good, represented by Sarastro, and Evil, represented by the Queen of the Night – by considering that each of them guides the young Tamino and Pamina on the path to wisdom. An optimistic reading that does not eliminate the idea of death, described by Mozart in a letter to his father as « our best friend ».