The Sublime and the Childish in Mozart’s Magic Flute (1791)

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentation - typerForedrag og mundtlige bidrag

Nils Holger Petersen - Foredragsholder

Conference paper at specialist conference. Abstract: In recent scholarship as well as in modern performances of Mozart’s and Schikaneder’s Die Zauberflöte (1791), not least in Jan Assmann’s important 2005 book and later articles about the opera, there is little doubt that notions of sublimity are seen as connected to the world of Sarastro and the successful attempts of Tamino and Pamina to prevail under the trials of Sarastro’s priestly brotherhood. Indeed, in Assmann’s book, Papageno is viewed as a person of less importance to the overall message of the opera, and, similarly, in many performances of the opera, Papageno is constructed as only a humorous figure, not to be taken serious. However, not only the text of the famous duet “Pa-Pa-Pa…,” in the second act of the opera between Papageno and Papagena, in which the words “it is the highest of all feelings” (“es ist das höchste der Gefühle”) are included, but also the music of the duet and the whole dramaturgy of the opera deserve a somewhat different interpretation. In discussion with Assmann’s and others’ points of view, I present a reading of the figure of Papageno and of Mozart’s and Schikaneder’s entire work in which Papageno is a crucial element in the construction of the overall meaning of the opera, thus overcoming what often appears as an incongruous dichotomy between serious sublimity and childish (albeit charming) comedy.
24 jun. 2015

Begivenhed (Konference)

TitelSonorous Sublime
AfholdelsesstedCRASSH centre, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, UK

ID: 151497020