A delightful fable about fraternity, overflowing with symbolism and Masonic allusions, it would become the musical testament of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
It would be the last of his operas that he would see on stage, and that he would conduct the premiere himself.
The Magic Flute saw the light of day as fruit of desperation: Mozart at that point was practically outcast from the musical life of Vienna, after the Coronation of Leopoldo II as Emperor, and this had caused havoc in his domestic economy.
His friend and theatre impresario, Emanuel Schikaneder, who was also in a similar precarious state, proposed that Mozart compose an opera for his theatre, and it was also this impresario who wrote the libretto (and gave voice to the first Papageno). The result of the collaboration initially achieved only a modest success, perhaps because –in spite of his bouts of genial comedy, the underlying humanistic ideals in the work did not fit in well with the expectations of a basically working class audience.
However, these timid beginnings would rapidly give way to a growing awareness that The Magic Flute was simply very good. Its depth, coherence, and powerful pacifist message and its ability to incite us both to action as to reflection continue intact to our days.