One of the most curious scholastic errors I find myself having to deal with is the lack of intellectual curiosity on the part of scholars interpreting Mozart’s intent and vision with this opera. For many years the libretto was simply ridiculed — there were ‘two’ Queens of the Night, for example. How clumsy of Wolf! How artificial the temple setting…<yawn>…3 children bobbing in and out to keep Pamina from taking her own life in despair, how very trite! The Queen of the Night ‘must’ have been modeled after Constanze’s mother, Madam Weber. We all know that! Oh, and, of course, Sarastro was modeled after Ignaz von Born: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_von_Born. No curiosity there. End of discussion.
In short, if there is anything about the opera Die Zauberflote that the critics don’t understand, they have just tended to blame Mozart! To think that he, of all people, would agree to such a lumbering and clumsy plot! What was he thinking? :-0
Musicians and their critics have, in my estimation, one consistent shortcoming, and that is a refusal or an inability to think outside-of-the-box. If it doesn’t come on paper, staff or otherwise, or someone has not ‘told’ them something, they just refuse to consider the possibility. Very unscholarly approach, to my thinking…
If, on the other hand, one considers that a genius such as Mozart knew exactly what he was doing and agreed to, and sensed in a way that he was launching this opera out into a future time and place where it might even conceivably come to exist in the material world, one might actually grasp what Wolfgang Mozart was all about. For he did not have a mind riveted by limited thinking. He simply moved forward with assurance and tenacity, not unlike the father of modern rocketry, Wernher von Braun on his quest to land men on the moon and return them safely to the earth.
So to those tempted to settle for superficial clues to what the opera Die Zauberflote is really all about I humbly ask that you consider the possibility that Wolf was describing people who would not even be born on this earth for over 200 years, and that he was doing his very best to describe them. 🙂