9780394434520 / 0394434528

The Magic Flute, Masonic Opera: An Interpretation of the Libretto and the Music


Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf



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About the book:

In this extraordinary book, Jacques Chailley has succeeded brilliantly in using research and minutely detailed textual study to solve one of music's most notorious mysteries and to disprove on of its most baseless libels.

Mozart's opera The Magic Flute is universally recognized as a great masterpiece - and almost as universally accused of suffering from an incomprehensible, if not silly, libretto. Professor Chailley fascinatingly demonstrates (with myriad examples from both the libretto and the music) that, far from making nonsense, the opera is crowded with the most profound meanings.

Having demonstrated the inconsistency of the legend according to which the "stupidity" of the plot resulted from a midstream change of plan, he displays the coherence of the opera, uncovers the interrelated hidden significance of its characters and situations, and relates them all to the great cosmic myths of the esoteric tradition from which they emanate.

Under the illumination so engagingly supplied by Professor Chailley, The Magic Flute emerges as it really is: a rigorously constructed theater piece in which Mozart's wonderful music and the libretto by Emanual Shikaneder (and others) fulfill and clarify one another.

This is constructive scholarship at its most readable best - in a book that is alive with the atmosphere of eighteenth-century Vienna and with fascinating men and women, from sages and royal personages to grimy scoundrels, who supply many curious sidelights on politics, music, literature, religion, and Freemasonry.

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