Metropolitan Opera Live in HD Transmission: Die Zauberflöte
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Metropolitan Opera Live in HD Transmission: Die Zauberflöte 

Saturday, October 14, 2017, 12:55 P.M. (ET)

Broadcast Live in HD Zauberflöte hdl 1017
René Pape as Sarastro in Julie Taymor’s Met production of Die Zauberflöte
© Beth Bergman
The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant 
from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation. 
Global sponsorship of The Met: Live in HD is also provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. 
The HD Broadcasts are supported by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.

The 2016–17 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored 
by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®, with generous long-term 
support from The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation, 
The Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media, 
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Die Zauberflöte  

(A legendary time and place)
(in order of vocal appearance)
Three Ladies soprano, WENDY BRYN HARMER 
 mezzo, SARAH MESKO 
Papageno baritone, MARKUS WERBA 
Queen of the Night soprano, KATHRYN LEWEK 
Monostatos tenor, GREG FEDDERLY 
Three Slaves tenor, STEPHEN PAYNTER 
Paminasoprano, GOLDA SCHULTZ 
Three Spiritstreble, TBA 
 treble, TBA 
Sarastrobass, RENÉ PAPE 
Priestsbass, PAUL CORONA 
Papagenasoprano, ASHLEY EMERSON 
Guardstenor, RICHARD COX 
Conducted by CARLO RIZZI 
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra 
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus 
Production: Sir David McVicar 
Set designer: Robert Jones 
Costume designer: Moritz Junge 
Lighting designer: Paule Constable 
Movement director: Leah Hausman 
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo 
Musical preparation: Dan Saunders,  
Joseph Colaneri, Carol Isaac,
Jonathan C. Kelly
Assistant stage directors: Eric Sean Fogel,  
Stephen Pickover, Paula Williams 
Stage band conductor: Gregory Buchalter 
Prompter: Carol Isaac 
Italian coach: Loretta Di Franco 
Production a gift of Veronica Atkins 
Live in HD director: Gary Halvorson 
Live in HD host: Deborah Voigt 
Music producer: David Frost 
This performance will be transmitted live,  
in high definition and surround sound, into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series. For information on tickets, visit 


ACT I. Three Ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, save the fainting Prince Tamino from a huge serpent. After killing the beast, the Ladies linger to admire the unconscious youth. Deciding to leave together rather than allow one of them the treat of staying to protect him, they exit to inform the Queen of his arrival. The birdcatcher Papageno bounces in and introduces himself, saying he pines for a pretty wife, then boasts to the waking Tamino that he himself slew the serpent. The Ladies return to give Tamino a portrait of the Queen's daughter, Pamina, who they say is enslaved by the evil Sarastro, and they padlock Papageno's mouth for lying. Tamino feels himself falling in love. The Queen herself appears in a burst of thunder and laments the loss of her daughter. She charges Tamino with Pamina's rescue, ordering the reluctant Papageno to escort the prince. The Ladies hand a magic flute to Tamino and magic silver bells to Papageno to ensure their safety, appointing Three Genii to guide them.

Sarastro's Moorish slave Monostatos pursues and recaptures Pamina, who has tried to escape, but he is frightened away by the feather-covered Papageno, who tells Pamina that Tamino loves her and intends to save her. The two join voices in praise of love.

Led by the Genii to a grove with three temples, Tamino is turned away from the first two gates before a Priest emerges from the third to advise him that it is the Queen, not Sarastro, who is evil, and that Pamina is safe. Left alone, Tamino plays his flute, hoping to make his beloved appear. She is nearby, attempting to escape with Papageno, who replies to the flute with his bird pipe. Monostatos appears with his retainers, but they are rendered helpless by Papageno's magic bells. Before Papageno can spirit Pamina away, Sarastro, entering in ceremony, promises the girl eventual freedom but warns against her proud mother. When Monostatos brings in the captive Tamino, the slave is punished by Sarastro for attempting to molest Pamina. The latter is enchanted by a glimpse of Tamino, who is led into the temple with Papageno.

ACT II. Sarastro tells his priests that Tamino is prepared to undergo initiation rites. He calls on the gods to favor both the young prince and Papageno. The Speaker and a Priest swear their two initiates to silence. When the Queen's Ladies appear, Tamino is impervious to their dire warnings, but Papageno is easily derailed from his course of virtue.

Monostatos, finding Pamina asleep in the garden, tries to steal a kiss but is ordered away by the Queen of the Night, who gives her daughter a dagger with which to murder Sarastro. Monostatos returns when the Queen vanishes, but Pamina is rescued by Sarastro, who knows of the Queen's plot but assures Pamina that love is his answer to revenge.

Papageno is approached by a flirtatious old lady, who vanishes when asked her name. The Genii bring sustenance and return the magic flute and bells. When Pamina appears, Tamino steadfastly refrains from speaking to her. Misunderstanding his silence, she goes away broken-hearted.

The priests inform Tamino that he has only two more trials. Pamina is relieved when Tamino speaks to her but worries about his new ordeals. Sarastro says the lovers will meet again and separates them.

Papageno has failed his trials, happily settling for a glass of wine. When he wishes again for a pretty girl, the old lady reappears, turning into a young Papagena when he vows fidelity, but the Speaker returns to spirit her away.

The despairing Pamina, contemplating suicide, is saved by the Genii, who lead her to Tamino. At the caverns of fire and water, two Guards proclaim that Tamino must brave the elements. With Pamina at his side, he undergoes trials by water and fire, protected by the magic flute. Sarastro leads the triumphant lovers into the temple.

Papageno, too, is talked out of suicide by the Genii, who remind him to use his magic bells to summon Papagena. The two plan their future together.

The Queen of the Night, her Three Ladies and Monostatos attack the temple but are defeated and banished as the throng hails Sarastro, Pamina and Tamino.


Die Zauberflöte was the last opera completed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When he died, aged thirty-five, two months after its premiere, the work already had enjoyed a success. On his deathbed, Mozart consulted his watch each night to see how far along the performance had progressed.

Because of its spoken dialogue, Die Zauberflöte is technically not an opera but a singspiel (song play). Mozart was eager to write another such work in German, for both artistic and financial reasons. (It had been nine years since the last one, Die Entführung aus dem Serail.) The opportunity came in March 1791, when the actor and impresario Emanuel Schikaneder needed a new work for the theater he was managing in a suburb of Vienna.

Originally setting out to create an Oriental fantasy play (a type popular at that time), the authors, both members of the secret fraternal society of Freemasons, founded on aims of high ethical intent, decided midway in the first act to alter the course of the story to honor the recent death of a Masonic leader, Ignatz von Born.

In the premiere, at the Theater auf der Wieden, September 30, 1791, Schikaneder played Papageno; the Queen of the Night was Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Weber Hofer. The Met premiere was on March 30, 1900 (in Italian). The Met's current staging, by Julie Taymor, had its premiere on October 8, 2004.


A good beginner's guide through the dense symbolic thickets of Mozart's last opera is Peter Branscombe's W. A. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, an especially fine entry in the excellent Cambridge Opera Handbook series. Peter Gay's Mozart is a good short biography of the composer (Viking); more comprehensive (but no less accessible for the novice Mozartean) are Maynard Solomon's Mozart: A Life (HarperCollins) and Robert W. Gutman's Mozart: A Cultural Biography (Harcourt).

The list of worthy Die Zauberflötes on disc is a long one, beginning with Thomas Beecham's brisk 1937 reading (Naxos), with the buoyant Gerhard Hüsch as its warm, human Papageno. William Christie and Les Arts Florissants's fleet, light-filled 1996 Die Zauberflöte is ruled by Natalie Dessay's sparkling Queen; John Eliot Gardiner's elegant Archiv recording from the same year gathers Gerald Finley, Christiane Oelze, Cyndia Sieden and Michael Schade. Of the classic LP-era performances now on CD, Karl Böhm's magisterial second recording (DG) boasts Fritz Wunderlich's peerless Tamino, Otto Klemperer's lucid, spirited reading (EMI), the corruscating Queen of Lucia Popp and the expressive, chaste Pamina of Gundula Janowitz.

On DVD, the 2006 Live in HD transmission of Julie Taymor's staging, sung in J. D. McClatchy's English-language translation, is available on the Metropolitan Opera's own label. David McVicar's 2003 Covent Garden Die Zauberflöte(BBC) fields a first-rate ensemble, with Colin Davis conducting Simon Keenlyside (Papageno), Dorothea Röschmann (Pamina), Will Hartmann (Tamino), Diana Damrau (Queen of the Night) and Franz-Joseph Selig (Sarastro). In David Hockney's production, from Glyndebourne (Arthaus), Bernard Haitink paces Felicity Lott (Pamina) and Leo Goeke (Tamino). Jonathan Miller's rather dour Zurich Opera Zauberflöte, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, is available from Kultur. Ingmar Bergman's 1974 movie, filmed at Drottningholm Court Theatre, retains its breathtaking beauty on the Criterion Collection DVD. spacer 

This performance will be transmitted live, in high definition and surround sound, into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series. For information on tickets, visit 


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