W.A. Mozart : Die Zauberflote
Last updated: 17.12.19
Printed: 1991 Author: Peter Branscombe
Publisher: Cambridge University Press ISBN: 0521319161
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Paperback (July 1991), usually ships within 2-3 days.

Amazon Reviews
Few operas have had more written about them than "The Magic Flute", yet few are as often exposed to misguided comment - or to idiosyncratic productions. This book sets out to provide a straightforward account of Mozart's last opera, exposing the half-truths and legends that have proliferated since its first production in 1791. In chapter 1, a hitherto unsuspected source for the opening scenes is presented and Branscome reveals the complex relationship between the stories, essays and stage-works on which the plot is based. The second chapter studies the intellectual background, with special attention to Freemasonry. A detailed synopsis follows, then the history of the composition, based on documentary evidence and, in the case of the autograph score, the paper-types used. Chapter 5 examines the identity of the librettist and the qualities of his work, and chapter 6 is a detailed study (by Erik Smith) of Mozart's music and more generally of his late style. Chapter 7 covers the first performance, the cast, early reception, and then the rapid growth in the opera's fame; an outline history of productions concludes the chapter. Anthony Besch discusses the nature of the challenge for the director presented by "Die Zauberflote" and suggests how the problems can be overcome. The book contains illustrations, a synopsis, bibliography and discography and should be of interest to music students, scholars and opera-goers.