Jonathan Darlington, Conductor
Januar 2012
Frohes und friedliches neues Jahr 2012

‘A world that has produced a Mozart is a world worth saving. What a picture of a better world you have given us Mozart. ‘   Franz Schubert.

‘In my dreams of heaven I always see the great masters gathered in a huge hall in which they all reside. Only Mozart has his own suite!’    Victor Borge.

JD is preparing ‘The Magic Flute’ for  Opera Australia in Sydney opening on January 6th.

There is a labyrinth of thematic paths to follow through  ‘Die Zauberflöte’. One path that particularly appeals to me is that of vengeance -“die Rache” – or rather how it must be avoided at all cost.  I think it must have been very close to Mozart’s heart.  It is the meat and drink of ‘La Clemenza di Tito’, written the same year as ‘Die Zauberflöte’ and he underlines the theme very strongly almost a decade earlier in ‘Die Entführung’ which in many ways is a sketch, (a perfect one!) for ‘Die Zauberflöte’. At the end of ‘Die Entführung’, when Osmin is banished, the quartet of lovers – Belmonte/Constanze and Pedrillo/Blondchen – sing directly to the audience “Nichts ist so häßlich als die Rache”. It is an incredibly powerful moment and reinforces the Pasha’s clemency in the most perfect way imaginable.

In the Magic Flute I would say vengeance becomes almost a character in its own right in the opera. The plainest example is the juxtaposition of the second arias of Sarastro and the Queen of the night in the second act. The Queen sings: “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen…” in the dark key of D minor and a hectic ‘allegro assai’. Immediately afterwards,  Sarastro sings: “In diesen heil’gen Hallen kennt man die Rache nicht!” and offers us a solution if by any chance we fall into revenge’s trap: “Und ist ein Mensch gefallen, führt Liebe ihn zur Pflicht.” The key is a bright E major, full of light and a calm ‘Larghetto’. The arias come back to back, leaving us in little doubt as to the seriousness of the message.

Pamina and Papageno earlier in the opera sing: “Nur der Freundschaft Harmonie mildert die Beschwerden, ohne diese Sympathie ist kein Glück auf Erden.”  It is music – as Mozart saw it – that opens the door on that “Sympathie”, and as musicians, crossing the threshold of the year 2012 we would do well to remember what Mozart tried to tell us more than 200 years ago and spread the word!

Ever the optimist I hold with what Einstein said: “We cannot despair about mankind knowing that Mozart was a man”.



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