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Few operas have had more written about them than Die Zauberflöte, 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 most beloved opera, exposing the half-truths and legends that have proliferated since its first production in 1791. The sources for the opera are discussed, and there are chapters devoted to composition of the work, the authorship and qualities of the libretto, the music (analyzed by Erik Smith), early productions and performance history, and the practical problems of directing a production (examined by Anthony Besch). The book contains illustrations, a synopsis, bibliography, and discography and will be of interest to music students, scholars and operagoers.
1. The sources: introduction; 2. The intellectual background: freemasonry; 3. Synopsis; 4. The writing of Die Zauberflote; 5. The libretto; 6. The music Erik Smith; 7. Performance and reception; 8. A director's approach Anthony Besch; 9. Problems; Notes; Bibliography; Discography; Index.