Name: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist: Emanuel Schikaneder
Source: thought to be based on many sources
Premiere: 30 September 1791 at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna
Language: German

List of characters

Tamino: a prince, tenor
Pamina: daughter of the Queen of the Night, soprano
The Queen of the Night: Pamina’s mother and Sarastro’s rival, soprano
Papageno: a bird-catcher, bass
Papagena: Papageno’s ideal woman, soprano
Sarastro: High Priest of the Sun, bass
Monostatos: Sarastro’s servant, tenor
Three ladies, sopranos
Three child-spirits, sopranos
Speaker of the temple, bass
Three priests, bass, tenor, speaking role
Two armoured men tenor, bass
Three slaves, speaking roles
Priests, women, people, slaves, chorus

Musical numbers

Act I
‘Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe!’ (Tamino, First Lady, Second Lady, Third Lady)
‘Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja’ (Papageno)
‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön’ (Tamino)
‘O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn … Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren’ (Queen of the Night)
‘Hm! Hm! Hm!’ (Tamino, Papageno, First Lady, Second Lady, Third Lady)
‘Du feines Täubchen, nur herein!’ (Monostatos, Pamina, Papageno)
‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ (Pamina, Papageno)
‘Zum Ziele führt dich diese Bahn …’ (Three spirits, Tamino, Speaker, Pamina, Papageno, Monostatos, Sarastro, chorus)
‘Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton’ (Tamino)

Act II
March of the Priests
‘O Isis und Osiris schenket der Weisheit Geist’ (Sarastro)
‘Bewahret euch vor Weibertücken’ (Two Priests)
‘Wie? Ihr an diesem Schreckensort?’ (First Lady, Second Lady, Third Lady, Papageno, Tamino)
‘Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden’ (Monostatos)
‘Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen’ (Queen of the Night)
‘In diesen heilgen Hallen’ (Sarastro)
‘Seid uns zum zweitenmal willkommen’ (Three spirits)
‘Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden’ (Pamina)
‘O isis und Osiris! Welche Wonne!’ (chorus)
‘Soll ich dich, Teurer! Nicht mehr sehn?’ (Pamina, Sarastro, Tamino)
‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ (Papageno)
‘Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden’ (Three spirits, Pamina, First Man in Armour, Second Man in Armour, Tamino, Papageno, Papagena, Monostatos, Queen of the Night, First, Second and Third Lady, Sarastro, Chorus)
‘Papagena, Papagena, Papagena’ (Papageno)


This singspiel – a German-language form of opera that combines singing and spoken word – tells the story of Prince Tamino in his quest to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, who has been kidnapped by High Priest Sarastro, a powerful sorcerer. Tamino and Pamina undergo a series of trials, learning along the way that it is the queen, not the sorcerer, who is evil. The Queen of the Night is vanquished. Tamino is accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno. He has his own trials, which he fails, but he is rewarded anyway with the hand of Papagena.

Act I
Lost in a strange land, Prince Tamino is pursued by a serpent. He passes out and while he is unconscious, three women – attendants of the Queen of the Night – slay the dragon. The ladies are attracted to the handsome prince and argue over who should stay with him; unable to decide they all leave. Papageno enters, singing about his life as a bird-catcher.

The ladies return and show Tamino a portrait of the beautiful Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. They tell him that she has been kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Sarastro. The prince immediately falls in love and when the Queen of the Night appears, he vows to her that he will rescue her daughter. Tamino is given a magic flute and Papageno some magic bells; led by three child spirits, the pair set out for Sarastro’s temple.

Meanwhile, Pamina is tormented by Sarastro’s chief slave Monostatos. Papageno and Tamino arrive at the temple, where the latter is told by a priest that Sarastro is benevolent and that it is the Queen of the Night who is evil. Tamino and Pamina meet for the first time and fall in love.

Act II

It is decided that Tamino may marry Pamina and succeed Sarastro if he can pass a series of trials. There are four ordeals in total and Tamino and Papageno undertake the first two together, the former passing both and the latter failing.

The Queen of the Night appears to Pamina and gives her a knife, asking her to murder Sarastro, and then leaves again. Pamina is torn between loyalty to her mother and love for Tamino. Sarastro comes in and, as Pamina begs him to forgive her mother, he assures her that he isn’t interested in revenge.

Tamino and Pamina are reunited and embark on the final two trials together. They successfully pass through the ordeals of fire and water. But the traitorous Monostatos, the Queen of the Night and her three attendants storm the temple. Sarastro defeats them before they can destroy the temple and casts them into eternal darkness.

Despite failing his own trials, Papageno is awarded the hand of the lovely Papagena, while the triumphs of Tamino and Pamina are hailed by the priests. Sarastro announces the sun’s success over the night and blesses the union of Tamino and Pamina.



Diana Damrau as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.