“The Magic Flute (German title: Die Zauberflote). An opera by Mozart (1756-91), with a libretto by Emanuel Shikaneder, first performed in 1791. In this mystical (and quasi-masonic) quest opera, the magic flute is bestowed on Tamino to protect him as he goes through various rites of passage, such as ordeal by fire and water. The story is based on one found in Christoph Wieland’s collection of oriental folk tales (1786).
‘The opera [The Magic Flute]…is the only one in existence that might conceivably have been composed by God.’
Neville Cardus: in the Manchester Guardian, 1961
Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.