Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Israel Philharmonic: Mozart's Magic Flute Overture

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs W.A. Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, Zubin Mehta conducting. Mozart composed the two-act opera, The Magic Flute (K620), which in the original German was entitled Die Zauberflöte, in 1791. Emanuel Schikaneder wrote the German libretto. The opera's synopsis can be found here. It is the most frequently performed opera in the world.

The opera premiered at Vienna's Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden on September 30, 1791. Mozart conducted the orchestra, Schikaneder played the title role of  Papageno and the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer. The opera was an immediate success, lifting the spirits of Mozart, who fell ill. He did not live to see the 100th performance of the opera. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the world's greatest composers, died on December 5, 1791. He was 35. Although much speculation as to the cause of death has circulated over the years, including poisoning by a rival, the consensus is that Mozart died of rheumatic fever.

The Magic Flute: Playbill announcing the premiere of the opera.
Source: Wikipedia

There is also a wonderful version here of James Levine conducting The Met in New York City.


  1. The Magic Flute, like Handel's Orlando, has glorious music and a stupid plot. Both operas have a superman character, Sarastro in the Mozart work, Zoroastro in Orlando. I find it amazing that a stupid story becomes utterly convincing when part of an opera with beautiful music. But I have never been convinced that Sarastro is a good guy.

  2. Dear Prof Jochnowitz:

    Thank you for your comment. You raise a good point; it's the music that appeals to most people in this case.


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