Music Monday: Papageno Wants A Wife

Jonathan Michie as Pagageno in The Magic Flute (2016); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Jonathan Michie as Pagageno in The Magic Flute (2016); Photo: Craig T. Mathew Photo by Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging

The Queen of the Night’s second aria is the arguably the most recognized piece of operatic music. Yet, there’s something so refreshing about Papageno’s Aria (“Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” or “A Little Wife”) in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Papageno sings his aria towards the end of Act II, after Pamina has fallen in love with Tamino. He longs for a little wife of his own to keep him company (which he says is better than wine, according to an English translation used in 1984’s hit film, Amadeus). It’s a light aria that Papageno sings, while indulging in several cocktails, and in which he gets a sneak peek at his future wife, Papagena. The aria’s theme is later reprises at the end of the opera, when Papageno and Papagena have found each other.

Watch Simon Keenlyside sing Papageno’s aria below and make sure to check out our silent film inspired rendition when The Magic Flute (only 5 performances left!).

Can’t get enough of The Magic Flute? Learn more below.

5 Silent Films to Watch Before Seeing The Magic Flute

Barrie Kosky, Susanne Andrade, and Paul Barritt’s production of The Magic Flute is heavily inspired by the silent film era and the spirit of the roaring twenties. In Kosky’s words, “Papageno is suggestive of Buster Keaton, while Monostatos is a bit Nosferatu, and Pamina perhaps a bit reminiscent of Louise Brooks.” There are a plethora of silent films to check out before seeing The Magic Flute, as the silent film era was a rich time for the industry. Filmmakers explored the artistry of the cinematic medium, creating new stories and adapting classic – even operatic – works for a new audience (King Vidor’s excellent 1926 La Boheme film is definitely worth a movie night). Before you step into the world of The Magic Flute, here are a few silent films to watch to get you in the 1920s spirit.

Magic Flute By The Numbers

The Magic Flute will take the stage this weekend, sharing its roaring twenties inspired magic with Los Angeles once more. It’s exciting to see the whole production come together; it’s an elaborate one, but not in the way that you might think. Instead of giant, fantastical sets, this Magic Flute showcases a slew of projected animations, designed by filmmaker Paul Barritt, and inspired by the silent-film era.

Designing The Magic Flute: Roaring Twenties Fantasy Film

Here, the production team – Suzanne Andrade, Barrie Kosky, and Paul Barritt – talk about the concept behind their vision for Mozart’s fantasy opera.

For information about and tickets to our current season, including The Magic Flute, click here.

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