Pittsburgh Opera presents Mozart’s The Magic Flute November 6–14 in its return to the Benedum Center
Photo by Tim Trumble for Arizona Opera
Pittsburgh Opera returns to the Benedum Center, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with Mozart’s most-celebrated opera - the mystical adventure The Magic Flute.
Young Prince Tamino embarks on a hero’s quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Pamina from Sarastro’s clutches. Along the way, he learns that things aren’t always as they seem. Aided by a magic flute, and accompanied by his trusty sidekick Papageno the bird catcher, Tamino pursues truth and reason, love and enlightenment.
Full of beautiful melodies and enchanting characters, this timeless tale of light battling darkness will delight adults and children alike.
Per Pittsburgh Opera's COVID safety protocols, patrons must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and wear face coverings (masks). Full details, including vaccination exceptions for children who aren't old enough to be vaccinated and others, are available at pittsburghopera.org/COVID.
Pittsburgh Opera has a no-hassle refund policy for all 2021–22 operas so patrons can purchase their tickets with confidence. Pittsburgh Opera will offer full refunds for any patrons who notify us that they need to cancel their tickets at least one hour prior to their performance start time.
All performances take place at the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
- Sat., November 6, 2021 * 8:00 PM
- Tues., November 9, 2021 * 7:00 PM
- Fri., November 12, 2021 * 7:30 PM
- Sun., November 14, 2021 * 2:00 PM
Run Time: approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes with one intermission
Language: Sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage
- The Magic Flute is considered a “Singspiel” (singing play), a music drama similar to modern musical theater. A singspiel has spoken dialogue as well as arias and ensembles, and usually has a comic or romantic plot with exaggerated characterizations of good and evil. In Mozart’s Austria, Singspiele were more popular and accessible for the general public than Italian-style grand opera.
- Mozart was a Freemason, and scholars have written extensively about the “Masonic symbolism” that can be found throughout The Magic Flute.
- Mozart was just 35 years old when he composed the music for The Magic Flute. He died in December 1791, three short months after it opened.
The story, in brief
The Magic Flute takes place in a mythical land between the sun and the moon.
Three ladies in the service of the Queen of the Night save Prince Tamino from a serpent. When they leave to tell the queen, the birdcatcher Papageno appears. He boasts to Tamino that it was he who killed the creature. The ladies return to give Tamino a portrait of the queen’s daughter, Pamina, who they say has been enslaved by the evil Sarastro. Tamino immediately falls in love with the girl’s picture. The queen, appearing in a burst of thunder, tells Tamino about the loss of her daughter and commands him to rescue her. The ladies give a magic flute to Tamino and silver bells to Papageno to ensure their safety on the journey and appoint three spirits to guide them.
Sarastro’s slave Monostatos pursues Pamina but is frightened away by Papageno. The birdcatcher tells Pamina that Tamino loves her and is on his way to save her. Led by the three spirits to the temple of Sarastro, Tamino learns from a high priest that it is the Queen, not Sarastro, who is evil. Hearing that Pamina is safe, Tamino charms the wild animals with his flute, then rushes off to follow the sound of Papageno’s pipes. Monostatos and his men chase Papageno and Pamina but are left helpless when Papageno plays his magic bells. Sarastro enters in great ceremony. He punishes Monostatos and promises Pamina that he will eventually set her free. Pamina catches a glimpse of Tamino, who is led into the temple with Papageno.
Sarastro tells the priests that Tamino will undergo initiation rites. Monostatos tries to kiss the sleeping Pamina but is surprised by the appearance of the Queen of the Night. The Queen gives her daughter a dagger and orders her to murder Sarastro.
Sarastro finds the desperate Pamina and consoles her, explaining that he is not interested in vengeance. Tamino and Papageno are told by a priest that they must remain silent and are not allowed to eat, a vow that Papageno immediately breaks when he takes a glass of water from a flirtatious old lady. When he asks her name, the old lady vanishes. The three spirits appear to guide Tamino through the rest of his journey and to tell Papageno to be quiet. Tamino remains silent even when Pamina appears. Misunderstanding his vow for coldness, she is heartbroken.
The priests inform Tamino that he has only two more trials to complete his initiation. Papageno, who has given up on entering the brotherhood, longs for a wife instead. He eventually settles for the old lady. When he promises to be faithful, she turns into a beautiful young Papagena, but immediately disappears.
Pamina and Tamino are reunited and face the ordeals of water and fire together, protected by the magic flute.
Papageno tries to hang himself on a tree but is saved by the three spirits, who remind him that if he uses his magic bells he will find true happiness. When he plays the bells, Papagena appears and the two start making family plans.The Queen of the Night, her three ladies, and Monostatos attack the temple but are defeated and banished. Sarastro blesses Pamina and Tamino as all join in hailing the triumph of courage, virtue, and wisdom.
- Adapted from The Metropolitan Opera
See The Magic Flute's webpage for the opera's complete cast and artistic team.
Single tickets for adults start at $15; tickets for kids and teens ages 6–18 are half-price. Call 412-456-6666 or visit pittsburghopera.org/tickets.
Group discounts, including student discounts, are available. For more information about group ticket services and discounts for groups of six or more people, contact Wendy Parkulo at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or via email.
Pittsburgh Opera has a no-hassle refund policy for all 2021–22 operas so patrons can purchase their tickets with confidence. Whether a patron has contracted COVID, is waiting for a COVID test result, has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, or simply has a symptom that could be COVID, etc., Pittsburgh Opera will offer full refunds for any patrons who notify us that they need to cancel their tickets at least one hour prior to their performance start time.
Patrons must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and wear face coverings (masks).
In addition, any person experiencing any COVID-19 symptom that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity, or who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last ten days, or is currently waiting for COVID-19 test results will be denied admittance.
Full details are available at pittsburghopera.org/COVID.
Please contact Chris Cox for reservations
- Photo Call (Mon., Oct. 25, 12:30 PM) - location TBA
- Full Dress Rehearsal (Thurs., Nov. 4, 7:00 PM) - Benedum Center
- Opera Up Close (10/24 2:00 PM, virtual)
- WQED Preview (10/30 12:30 PM & 11/5 7:00 PM, 89.3FM or wqed.org/fm)
- Audio Commentary (11/9, during the performance)
- Pre-Opera Talks (one hour before each performance, in the Benedum Center)
- November Brown Bag concert (11/13, noon, at Pittsburgh Opera Headquaters)
- PNC is the 2021—22 Pittsburgh Opera Season Sponsor.
- Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center is the Tuesday Performance Sponsor.
- WQED-FM is Pittsburgh Opera’s Media Sponsor.