Magic Flutes

“The Queen of the Night vanished into the split rock, the stage lift worked, the prince and the birdcatcher set out on their adventures. The scene changed and in a room in Sarastro’s palace lay Pamina, abandoned and afraid. And here was alchemy again as the quarrelsome, rapacious Raisa became a young girl whose simplicity and seriousness was affirmed in every limpid note.

Felicity followed felicity. The duet between Pamina and the birdcatcher as they preached a tender sermon on conjugal love ended in a torrent of clapping which Klasky dissolved as he took his players forward into the solemnity and seriousness of the High Priest’s Temple. Darkened by trombones, by muted trumpets and muffled drums, the music now spoke of the poetry of man’s existence, of the necessity of suffering and endurance in the creation of a perfect love.

‘I will be nicer to mother,’ thought the Countess Waaltraut, and the acid-penned critic Mendelov, who had come from Vienna, closed his notebook and shook his wondering head. Guy was beyond thought. He had forgotten even Nerine, held as if in a vice by the miracle that was this music.”

- from Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson