"…it is the evident quiet approbation which best pleases me! It is apparent that this opera is rising rapidly and steadily in estimation." — Mozart, letter to his wife, October 7-8, 1791.
Unfortunately, his tragic death a scant two months later prevented Mozart from ever realizing the full accuracy of this observation, made a few performances after the cool reception given The Magic Flute at its Viennese premiere.
In May 1791, Mozart's friend Emanuel Schikaneder commissioned The Magic Flute. In keeping with the popular level of this theater, Schikaneder himself supplied Mozart with the libretto about the rescue of a good fairy's daughter from a wicked magician by a hero armed with a magic flute. After a good deal of the music was written, the composer and librettist — both Freemasons — grafted Masonic ideals onto the plot, transforming a simple fairy tale into a moralistic allegory and a Singspiel into one of the world's greatest operas.
This handsome, moderately priced volume, reprinted directly form an authoritative edition, will enable musicians, music students, and opera lovers to gain a fuller appreciation of Mozart's mastery of operatic language, orchestral color, and dramatic expression. A helpful feature of this edition is the inclusion of all spoken dialog, usually abbreviated in other editions.