I grew up listening to my parents play their opera recordings on what is now considered an old-fashion record player almost every weekend. My mom and dad had worked for the US State Department in Germany after WWII and saw many operas during their time overseas. I didn’t really come to appreciate opera until I also lived and studied in Germany during a year abroad in college. I referenced The Magic Flute in my book, The Lioness of Brumley Hall, because it contains a profound reflection on spiritual enlightenment while simultaneously telling an enchanting fairy tale as well. In my book, Azalea, along with her cousin, Schuyler, play the Papageno-Papagena duet on their instruments to entice a faerie gnome to come out and release her little brother, Bumbles. Unless they were able to free him from a faerie enchantment, Bumbles would be confined in the faerie realm of Urwelt for many a year.
The Magic Flute, an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart creates an enchanting world where love conquers all through the treacherous minefield where good faces the forces of darkness. Mozart was adept at producing a delightful blend of high comedy and serious drama. Papageno serves as the comedic sidekick to a love-struck prince, Tamino, throughout his fantastic journey to rescue the Queen of the Night’s daughter, Pamina. With the aid of a magic flute and the bumbling, lovelorn Papageno at his side, Prince Tamino endures dangers and temptations to rescue his love. Papageno also finally meets his love, Papagena and they sing a whimsical duet together. The Papageno/Papagena duet below is particularly sweet. The Queen of the Night aria is one of the most difficult of all as you will hear. The best version of the aria is by Diana Damrau.