“Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen”

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer
Emanuel Schikaneder, librettist

Will Liverman, baritone
Members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) gave the world a timeless masterpiece with The Magic Flute. It premiered in Vienna just three months before the composer's untimely death. Mozart was already ill, but still found the strength to conduct the premiere himself. He collaborated on Flute with actor/theater-manager/playwright/librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote the text of the opera. Schikaneder was also onstage on the first night, creating the important role of Papageno, the opera's "everyman" figure who usually steals the show. Unlike so many of Mozart's other operas, Flute was created by Mozart and Schikaneder as a work not for the nobility but for the people. How miraculous that, with Mozart in such a dire state of health, he could still compose an opera that stands as one of the most truly life-enhancing works of art of all time.

The Queen of the Night promises Prince Tamino that her daughter Pamina will be his if he rescues her from the priest Sarastro (according to the Queen, Sarastro has kidnapped Pamina). Accompanying Tamino on the search for Pamina is the Queen's birdcatcher, Papageno. When the two appear in Sarastro's realm, they're immediately ordered to undergo certain trials. These are difficult for Papageno, but his spirits lift when, upon wishing for food and wine, both suddenly appear. As he partakes delightedly, he declares that he has only one more wish—to find a girl to love. This is the aria "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" ("A girl or a wife"), one of the most charming numbers in Mozart's score.

Text & translation


Will Liverman

Will Liverman

The American baritone and Ryan Opera Center alumnus earned critical acclaim as Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD (world premiere, Opera Philadelphia), a role he reprised at Lyric, London’s English National Opera, Madison Opera, and at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He has also portrayed Malcolm Fleet/Marnie (Metropolitan Opera), Figaro/The Barber of Seville (Seattle Opera, Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera), and Papageno/The Magic Flute (Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera and Opera Colorado). Recent performance highlights include Horehamb/Akhnaten and a reprisal of Papageno (both at the Metropolitan Opera), Silvio/Pagliacci (Opera Colorado), and Schaunard/La bohème (Opera Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera), as well as a live-streamed recital with Valhalla Media at Chicago’s Studebaker Theater featuring works by African-American composers including Damien Sneed and Margaret Bonds. Later this season, Liverman is scheduled to appear as Leporello/Don Giovanni at LA Opera and the Huntsman/Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera. He has sung the title role in a concert version of Porgy and Bess with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, in Orff’s Carmina Burana and Handel’s Messiah as a guest artist at the University of Chicago, and as baritone soloist/Brahms’s A German Requiem with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. A graduate of Wheaton College, Liverman received a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2017 3Arts Award and a George London Award. In 2015, he won the prestigious Stella Maris International Vocal Competition. 

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