The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)

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The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)



by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed in German with projected English translations
Performance running time: 3 hours 20 minutes including 1 intermission

The Magic Flute Opera Overview

Who can fail to be delighted and moved by the triumph of love and goodness in The Magic Flute? Join us for this operatic fairytale as Prince Tamino strives for the hand of Pamina, accompanied by his lovable sidekick Papageno. You’ll meet the evil Queen of the Night — with her stratospheric high notes and show-stopping arias — and the virtuous high priest Sarastro in a story that encompasses both the real and the fantastical. Revel in this combination of heartwarming comedy and true heroism, and the unparalleled genius and beauty of Mozart’s music. A wonderful introduction to opera for all ages.

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Image: Todd Rosenberg


The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) Opera Resources

Short Synopsis

The Queen of the Night’s enemy, the high priest Sarastro, has abducted her daughter, Pamina. The Queen promises Prince Tamino that, if he can rescue Pamina, the girl will be his. He is accompanied on his quest by the Queen’s birdcatcher, Papageno.  Tamino finds Pamina, but in order to win her, he must endure difficult trials created by the brotherhood over which Sarastro rules. Tamino’s traveling companion, the birdcatcher Papageno, must endure trials as well, in order to win Papagena.

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Magic Flute

Audio Highlights

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Recording by EMI – Moser, Moll, Berry, Miljakovic, cond. Sawallisch. Courtesy Warner Classics.

"O Isis und Osiris"

"Der Hölle Rache"

“Klinget, Glöckchen, klinget…Pa, pa, pa”

The Magic Flute Opera Guide

Lyric Unlimited Guide to The Magic Flute

Learn more about The Magic Flute with in-depth insights into the opera's history and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Plus, you can hear some musical examples that highlight the opera's fairy tale charm. The guide also provides some inside glimpses into Lyric's brand-new production.

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The Magic Flute Fairy Tale

The Magic Flute – A Fairy Tale for the Holidays!

This year, we celebrate 225 years of Mozart’s delightful, enchanting fairy tale The Magic Flute entertaining audiences, and Lyric is bringing a new production of this charming classic to Chicago just in time for the holidays.

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The Magic Flute Rehearsal

The Magic Flute Reimagined

Director Neil Armfield has had a lifelong attraction to The Magic Flute. “At its heart,” he says, “are such generosity, such love of music, such a sense of play.”

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The Magic Flute Reimagined

The Magic Flute Has Wow Power

On December 10, Lyric opened its first all-new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in over 30 years. Clearly, Chicago audiences were hungry for this new imagining of everyone’s best first opera, as the reviews are sensational.

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Musical excerpts for The Magic Flute provided by through generous arrangement with Warner Classics, Official Education and Promotion Music Provider for Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The Magic Flute Synopsis

A backyard near you

“Legendary times — ancient Egypt”

There will be one intermission


Scene 1. Prince Tamino is pursued by a giant dragon and faints. He is rescued by the Queen of the Night’s three ladies-inwaiting. After admiring the prince, they leave to report to the queen. Now awake, Tamino marvels at his rescue. He meets Papageno, the queen’s birdcatcher, and assumes he’s the one who saved him. Papageno plays along until, overhearing his boasting, the ladies seal his lips with a padlock. They give Tamino a portrait of the queen’s daughter, Pamina, who has been abducted by Sarastro. Tamino is instantly enraptured. The queen herself asks Tamino to rescue her daughter, promising him Pamina if he succeeds. The ladies unlock Papageno’s mouth and order him to be Tamino’s travel companion. They give Tamino a magic flute and Papageno magic bells, and inform them that three genii will guide them to Sarastro’s realm.

Scene 2. Having attempted to escape from Sarastro, Pamina is dragged back by his overseer, Monostatos. Surprised by Papageno, Monostatos flees. The birdcatcher tells the astonished Pamina that Tamino loves her. She consoles Papageno, who has no sweetheart.

Scene 3. The genii lead Tamino to Sarastro’s temples, but voices order him to stand back from the first and second portal. When Tamino approaches the Temple of Wisdom, a priest informs him that Sarastro rules here. The appalled Tamino mentions the queen’s misery and inquires after Pamina. Admitting the abduction but refusing to give further information, the priest advises Tamino not to trust a woman. Tamino rejoices when voices assure him that Pamina is still alive. Hearing Papageno’s bird-whistle in the distance, he rushes off to search for him and Pamina. Those two are about to be captured by Monostatos when the birdcatcher plays his magic bells, at which the overseer and his servants dance blithely away.

Before Sarastro, Pamina confesses that she longed to escape because Monostatos tried to force her to love him. Sarastro declares that he’ll neither punish her nor set her free. Monostatos drags in Tamino, but instead of being rewarded, Sarastro orders that the overseer receive 77 lashes. Tamino and Papageno are led to the Initiation Temple.


Scene 1. The priests, headed by Sarastro, decide that Tamino may undertake the trials in order to be admitted to their brotherhood. Tamino and Pamina bid each other farewell before his trials begin. The priests pray with Sarastro.

Scene 2. Two priests lead Tamino and Papageno to their first trial. The latter agrees to it once told it’s the only way he can win Papagena, the bride chosen for him. The priests warn both men of women’s wiles and swear them to silence. When the queen’s ladies appear and tempt them to speak, Papageno promptly forgets his vow. The ladies vanish as unseen priests shout that the temple has been desecrated. Tamino and Papageno are led to the next trial.

Scene 3. Monostatos attempts to kiss the sleeping Pamina, but the queen stops him. She orders Pamina to kill Sarastro. Monostatos threatens Pamina and tries to kill her when she refuses to love him. Sarastro intervenes and comforts Pamina.

Scene 4. Still sworn to silence, Papageno forgets his vow again when an old woman appears. She calls him her sweetheart, but when he asks her name, she vanishes. When Tamino plays his flute, Pamina rushes to him. Bound by his vow, he refuses to speak to her, leaving her in despair. Tamino is led to the next trial, as the priests praise his steadfastness. Papageno learns that he won’t be admitted to the brotherhood, but the birdcatcher’s only wish is a sweetheart or wife. The old woman reappears, warning Papageno that he’ll be incarcerated forever if he doesn’t marry her. Once he agrees, she turns into lovely Papagena. When he tries to embrace her, a priest chases her away.

Scene 5. Pamina attempts suicide, but the three genii stop her and reassure her of Tamino’s love.

Scene 6. Tamino is joined by Pamina for his last trial. After conquering both fire and water, they are welcomed to the temple.

Scene 7. Unable to find his beloved, Papageno decides to hang himself, but the genii stop him. When he takes their advice and plays his bells, Papagena magically appears.

Scene 8. The queen, her ladies, and Monostatos attempt to storm the temple, but sink into the earth amidst thunder and lightning. Sarastro proclaims the sun’s victory over darkness, and the priests offer thanks to their gods.

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