Magic Flute Synopsis
A prince, Tamino, is chased by a vicious monster into the realm of the
Queen of the Night. He is saved by the Queen's Three Ladies. The Queen herself
commissions Tamino to rescue her daughter, Pamina, from an abductor, Sarastro.
Tamino, by now in love with Pamina's portrait, will be rewarded by marrying
Pamina. The bird-catcher Papageno is to be his helper. Their only aids are
a magic flute and magic bells, gifts from the Queen. Pamina is captive in
Sarastro's palace and guarded by the cruel, lecherous Monostatos. Papageno
finds his way into Pamina's chambers, scares off Monostatos, and tells Pamina
of Tamino's love for her. Extolling love, they leave together seeking Tamino.
Tamino, led by Three Spirits, finds Sarastro's court and learns that he
must join Sarastro's group in order to win Pamina. Glad that Pamina is still
alive, he plays his flute and is answered in the distance by Papageno's
pan pipes. As Tamino rushes out to find his comrade, Papageno and Pamina
run in, but are intercepted by Monostatos. Only the music of Papageno's
magic bells saves them from capture. Sarastro enters with his followers,
and Monostatos brings in the captured Tamino. Tamino and Pamina see each
other for the first time, but are forced to separate until Tamino and Papageno
prove their worthiness.
Sarastro and his community's priests, discussing Tamino's and Papageno's
entry into their society, realize that the two men must face dangerous
tests and even mortal danger to prove themselves. But Pamina, too, undergoes
agonizing trials: she must withstand Monostatos' unwelcome advances
and threats against her life. She must reject her mother's increasingly
unwholesome influences. During these events, Sarastro's goals are revealed
as largely benevolent and the Queen's as evil. Papageno fails the tests,
but his good nature wins him Papagena, the wife for whom he has longed.
Tamino, with Pamina at his side, successfully passes the tests of fire
and water. The Queen and her followers sink into oblivion. Sarastro
and his followers celebrate as Tamino and Pamina are united through
love — and the power of the magic flute.
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