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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Classical Era > Overture to "The Magic Flute" - Mozart


Overture to "The Magic Flute"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-91)



"The Magic Flute," officially designated as a "German opera," the text by Emanuel Schickaneder, was written in 1791 and produced in the same year in Vienna. It was the last great work of the composer. The story concerns Pamima, daughter of the Queen of Night, who was been induced to go to the Temple of Isis by Sarastro, the priest, and there learn the ways of wisdom, and her lover, Tamino, an Egyptian prince.In her efforts to revenge her daughter's loss, the Queen of Night induces Tamino to go to her rescue. He reaches the Temple with Papageno, a bird-catcher, the harlequin of the story. Both are seized and brought before Sarastro. Tamino promises to follow Pamina's example and take the vows. After various absurd and grotesque adventures the evil spirits are overcome, and Tamino and Pamina are united as the reward of their fidelity. The work is an important one as marking the first time that German opera employed all the elements of finished art. The overture opens with the stately chords for trombone which are heard before the priest's march and Sarastro's prayer, "O Isis and Osiris." The main body of the overture has but single theme, which is wonderfully developed in fugal form.





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