Mozart's MAGIC FLUTE is the most frequently performed opera in the German-speaking world. This variegated masterpiece straddling Viennese popular theatre, fairytale, myth and the mystery of freemasonry is a puzzle even today: did Mozart and his librettist Schikaneder switch horses in mid-stream, changing allegiance from the Queen of the Night to Sarastro? Should one not distrust the holier-than-thou world of the priests and an ideology that divides the world into good and evil? Are there not traces, even, of discrepancies between text and music, as many a Mozart expert has suggested? Whatever the facts of the matter, it is the music that smooths the contradictions of the plot, elevating them to a worldly realism. The music does not denounce the characters but rather confers on the conflicts an existential dimension. Without this dimension the opera would come over as an irrational fairytale.
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