Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#21
I have been reading more of Zauberflote, alchemical allegory. Van Den Berk, the author, only mentions tarot once that I have found, in a footnote to an Appendix . It is obviously something he didn't think about while he was writing the book.
He starts by observing, as we have, that Mozart gives the "Introduction" as number 2, the Overture is unnumbered, and there are "22 pieces" in all per his catalog. So why didn't he number the Overture? He says (p. 511):
He could have forgotten to do so because of the hurry he was in. After all, the overture was created only shortly before the premiere, and only enters it in his own catalog on September 28th, just two days before the opening. [This page of the catalog is his fig. 79.] It is quite possible that the entire subdivision, both of the score and the libretto, and their numbering, might have an esoteric background.
Then comes a long and interesting footnote (p. 511f) :
In this context we can think of the Tarot deck with its 22 major Arcana cards. In that deck, the first card is also unnumbered. In the years that the opera was performed, the esoteric meaning of hte Tarot deck was very much a topical subject. In 1781 the Freeemason Court de Geblin in the eighth volume of his Monde Primitif was the first who attempted to demonstrate that the Tarot cards in fact constitute the lost Book of Thoth, a treatise on the ancient Egyptian Mysteries! Thomas von Trattner, in whose house Mozart lived during the months prior to becoming a Freemason, was one of the first to sign up for Gebelin's work...
Unfortunately Van Den Berk gives no reference for this interesting statement. He goes on:
It is legitimate to assume that a closer study will bring to light far-reaching similarities between scenes from the opera and the themes depicted on the Tarot deck.
I couldn't agree more, of course. He then reminds us that the opera was known as Egyptische Geheimnisse for a long time, a title it only gradually shook off. He then reports on other speculations in the literature:
Esoteric speculations are also justified when it comes to the division of the libretto. Whittaker, for example, is convinced that the 'pieces' and 'entrances' in the libretto contain 'the golden proportion'. 'The golden section or the golden proportion occurs when a smaller term is to a larger term in the same way as a larger term is to the smaller plus the larger. It is represented by a:b::b:(a+b)...
So we have 21 pieces (minus the overture), 8 in Act 1 and 13 in Act 2. This is a golden proportion: 8/13 = 13/21. Likewise for scenes, or "entrances": 19/30 = 30/49. And both the total number of scenes and that of pieces is a multiple of 7, the sacred number. Likewise the overture has within it a "golden proportion": there are 81 bars in one section, then 6 bars of musical "knocking chords" followed by a section of 124 bars = 130. Here we have 81/130 = 130/211. This is on Whittaker 128f. I will get the title tomorrow.

Well, this has nothing to do with tarot. And trying the scenes in Stein with this formula, does 21/29 = 29/50? The ratios could be a lot closer. But it's this kind of thing, if anything, that would be significant about the scene numbering.

I left out a couple of things about Stein, from the libretto, that might be relevant. First, the lineage of the three magicians indicates that the singspiel is not Zoroastrian in the strict sense of "dualist" and as portrayed in the literature of the time about Zoroastrianism (in the Zoroaster's Telescope thread). The deceased Magician is the father of the other two magicians. Dying, he names the older as his successor and asks the younger to accept this. The younger won't, and prefers to oppose his brother from the place of darkness. This is different from Zoroastrianism, in which the dark and light principles are equally eternal. It is more parallel to Christianity (ignoring its subtleties), in which the good Father has a good son, Christ, and a bad son, Satan, assuming that the most powerful angels are all sons and daughters of the one God.

This does not rule out the libretto's being Zoroastrian in some other sense, such as that in which the Chaldean Oracles were said to be Zoroaster's work.

These same questions deserve to be asked of the Magic Flute; but I will defer asking them.

The second thing I left out was the Stone itself. One of the Father-Magician's last works was to create the Stone of Wisdom as his crowning legacy. But owing to the dissension, he doesn't give it to either of his sons. Instead, he gives it an eagle, with instructions to take it to the King of the Spirits for safe-keeping. He tells his sons, "You have lost it, there is it destined for one of your sons." All this is told to the hero, significantly named "Nadir", by the evil magician at one point. We hear no more of the Stone until the end, when Nadir surrenders the magic sword that killed his beloved Nadine to the good magician. That act of fealty accomplished, the good magician says that Nadir is really his son, whom the evil magician only thought had been killed as a newborn, while in fact those ordered to do the deed hadn't had the heart to follow through, and they threw it in the ocean instead. Yhe father rescued it, put it in a shepherd's safekeeping, and pretended the son was dead. With that revelation, the eagle flies in again with the stone, to be given to Nadir, now to be married to Nadine. The Stone is now a symbol of their worthy union.

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#22
On the question of whether Stein is Zoroastrian in some other sense other than that presented in the "Telescope" thread, I notice that Wikipedia, in its article on Zoroastrianism, talks about three principles. On the one hand there are the transcendent good principle, Ahura Mazda, and the transcendent evil principle, Angra Mainyu. Then there is a third power, a creation of the transcendent good principle, called the benevolent or Bounteous principel, Spenta Mainyu:
In Zoroastrian tradition, the "chaotic" is represented by Angra Mainyu (also referred to as "Ahriman"), the "Destructive Principle", while the benevolent is represented through Ahura Mazda's Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or "Bounteous Principle" of the act of creation.
This is not quite like the situation in Stein, in that the evil principle in Zoroastrianism is not a son of the good principle, but perhaps there was a confused version of this doctrine that the 18th century knew about. Or Shikaneder decided to make his singspiel more in conformity with Christianity, but with a nod toward Zoroastrianism. Also, it was thought that in Zoroastrianism magicians acted by relying on one or another of the good or evil spirits, just as in the singspiel.

However I would rather discuss these issues in relation to the Magic Flute, where Zoroaster is clearly referenced.

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#23
mikeh wrote:There are 22 scenes before the Act 2 Finale in the libretto I have, too. The discrepancy is that the libretto I have has seven scenes within the Finale, for a total of 29.
Well, that's something different. My author claims 20 scenes plus a finale in Act one, and 22 scenes plus a finale in Act two. Well, and there are 22 songs, 11 songs in first act (finale is included), 11 songs in second act (finale is included). Whatever the number of scenes inside the finale is, it doesn't disturb the counting 20+22 and inside the song category each finale is counted as "1" (and this forms another 22; "22 songs").

http://www.bamptonopera.org/repertory/m ... detail.htm
Who composed what?
Act 1
1. Overture Henneberg
2. Introduction, You maidens, you young folk! Henneberg
3. Aria (Lubano), Well, I never! Did you ever? Henneberg
4. Aria (Lubanara), Thus a pretty maiden can Henneberg
5. Chorus and accompanied recitative,
Hark, beautiful harmony Schack
6. Duet (Lubanara and Lubano), Tralleralara
Gerl
7. Acc. recit and aria (Eutifronte and Lubanara), At your command I come Gerl
8. Chorus and solo (Lubano), Look there, a stag runs by! Henneberg
9. Aria (Nadine), A woman who has felt love's dart Henneberg
10. Acc. recit and aria (Nadir and Astromonte), You'll ne'er do that, I swear to you! Schack
11. Finale, Say why, Nadine, you run from here Henneberg and Schikaneder

Act II
1. Overture no attribution
2. Chorus and recitative (Eutrifonte and Genie),
O Astromonte, be thou nigh Henneberg
3. Aria (Lubano), To trust a girl would not be wise Henneberg
4. March no attribution
5. Duet (Lubano and Lubanara), Now, my sweet darling Mozart
6. Aria (Eutifronte), Nadir, you'll triumph! no attribution
7. Aria (Nadir), Ye gods show mercy Gerl
8. Chorus, Astromonte dies through us Schack
9. Aria (Lubano), Yes, love is a funny thing no attribution
10. Aria (Nadine), My darling, my dearest Nadir! Schikaneder
11 . Finale, Miaow, miaow! = 1 song


So there are 42 scenes and 22 songs.

Maybe he created a subsystem of "7 scenes" inside the finishing sequence of Act 2.

... :-) ... the mystery of the book Sepher Yetzirah (the case, that one should see the 64 within the "32 ways of wisdom" isn't really an object in later Kabbala (at least as far I know). But it appears then later in the book Bahir, which isn't taken as kabbalistic text, but as a pre-kaballa text in the evaluation of Scholem (according Scholem the kabbala period started with 1170). There it is spoken of 64 forms (only in one of various independent passages in the book) and there it is added a group of 8.
95. The Blessed Holy One has a single Tree, and it has twelve diagonal boundaries:
The northeast boundary, the southeast boundary;
The upper east boundary, the lower east boundary;
The southwest boundary, the northwest boundary;
The upper west boundary, the lower west boundary;
The upper south boundary, the lower south boundary;
The upper north boundary, the lower north boundary;
They continually spread forever and ever;
They are the arms of the world.
On the inside of them is the Tree. Paralleling these diagonals there are twelve Functionaries.
Inside the Sphere there are also twelve Functionaries.
Including the diagonals themselves, this makes a total of 36 Functionaries.
Each of these has another. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), “For one above another
watches.” [This makes a total of 72.]
It therefore comes out that the east has nine, the west has nine, the north has nine, and the
south has nine.
These are twelve, twelve, twelve, and they are the Functionaries in the Axis, the Sphere, and
the Heart.
Their total is 36. The power of each of these 36 is in every other one.
Even though there are twelve in each of the three, they are all attached to each other.
Therefore, all 36 Powers are in the first one, which is the Axis. And if you seek them in the
Sphere, you will find the very same ones. And if you seek them in the Heart, you will again
find the very same ones.
Each one therefore has 36. All of them do not have more than 36 forms.
All of them complete the Heart [which has a numerical value of 32]. Four are then left over.
Add 32 to 32 and the sum is 64. These are the 64 Forms .
How do we know that 32 must be added to 32? Because it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), “For
one above another watches, [and there are higher ones above them].”
We thus have 64, eight less than the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. These are alluded to
in the verse, “there are higher ones above them,” and they are the seven days of the week.
But one is still missing. This is referred to in the next verse (Ecclesiastes 5:8), “The
advantage of the land in everything is the King.”
What is this “advantage”? This is the place from which the earth was graven. It is an
advantage over what existed previously.
And what is this advantage? Everything in the world that people see is taken from its
radiance. Then it is an advantage.
http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/sacred/bahir.pdf

So nothing is wrong with the arrangement of the opera. From the perspective of I-Ching there's also nothing wrong. The I-Ching has 64 hexagrams and 8 trigrams and one of the 8 trigrams is "heaven" (or the "creator", if one explains it in Western terminology).

22 + 20 + 22 is historical more an "Egypt mystery" than a Jewish mystery. But in the deciding biblical scene a Egyptian-Jewish prince "Moses" guided Israel from Egypt into the desert. In the corresponding story Moses arranged 10 plagues in Egypt and gave the Jews 10 written Laws, which he got from god on a mountain. 10 + 10 = 20. The Egypt system was destroyed (for the Jews), a system with 2x32 elements was born. The 10 laws were written ... naturally somebody must have known the language in which it was written, likely with the help of an alphabet with 22 letters.

That there was an Egypt system with 42 gods of the death, split in a group of 22 and 20 is only known by archeology, as far I know. A use of "64" is known from old stories around Toth, they are, as far I know, not directly related to the 42 gods of the death, but if you know the binary system based on 2^6 it's easy to understand the context between both.
Which is accurate? Looking at your link, I see that its descriptions of scenes, despite being from a "Sage", are not direct quotes, but paraphrases, using different words than the libretto and shortening what it says. The descriptions are marked with phrases like "Zu Beginn der Oper" or "um ihre Opfer", not in the libretto. And was it an "Oper" or a Singspiel?


I think, the difference was floating, but I'm by far not an opera-specialist. I think, the Germans hadn't an "opera", but "Singspiele". At some stage these "Singspiele" were accepted as "opera" in the late 18th century.

Maybe if you found a libretto, we could talk some more about this. Meanwhile, I will assume that there are 21 scenes in Act One and 29 in Act Two. There may be some significance to that; it remains to be seen (see my next post).

Your speculations about the 42 gods of Egypt might better be applied to such things as why there are 42 special cards in the Poilly, or why some lodges added 9 super-mystical initiations to the already-mystical 33 of the Scottish Rite (and the Petit Etteilla). The number of initiatory levels and the number of Poilly cards might possibly be connected somehow, or the number of levels have a connection to Weishaupt, pulling the strings; as for the 42 gods, I have to confess I can't remember what you said, somewhere, about where these people would have read about them.
The Poilly deck has not much of Egypt, but much for a youthful monarch of France, who somehow lived in a very solipsistic world view, and he is as monarch in full absolutism a very singular appearance in European history (reigning 72 years, which is a record).
"Your speculations about the 42 gods of Egypt might better be applied to such things as why there are 42 special cards in the Poilly" ... :-) ... you still don't understand the binary system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_%28number%29
There are 42 principles of Ma'at, the Ancient Egyptian personification of physical and moral law, order, and truth. In the judgement scene described in the Egyptian and the Book of the Coming/Going Forth by Day (the Book of the Dead (which evolved from the Coffin Texts and the Pyramid Texts)), there are 42 gods and goddesses of Egypt, personifying the principles of Ma'at. These 42 correspond to the 42 Nomes (Governmental Units) of Egypt. If the departed successfully answers all 42, s/he becomes an Osiris.
http://nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/1egypt/index.htm
One spell was spoken in front of a tribunal of 42 gods, and proclaimed innocence of a series of specified sins that covered every kinds of wrong doing. This made the soul worthy to go further into the Judgement Hall where the Court of Osiris (see above) had the final word. Being approved of there he was ready to embark on the Boat of Re to sail to the "Land in the West" for eternal rest.
http://whitney05.hubpages.com/hub/Egypt ... -Afterlife
While justifying himself, the deceased would face all 42 gods and heart would be weighed against a feather. If the heart does not balance perfectly, Amemat would devour it and Set would eat the rest of the body.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nome_%28Egypt%29
Not only did the division into nomes remain in place for more than three millennia, the areas of the individual nomes and their ordering remained remarkably stable. Some, like Xois in the Delta or Khent in Upper Egypt, were first mentioned on the Palermo stone, which was inscribed in the Fifth Dynasty. The names of a few, like the nome of Bubastis, appeared no earlier than the New Kingdom. Under the system that prevailed for most of pharaonic Egypt's history, the country was divided into 42 nomes.
20 Nomes in Lower Egypt


22 Nomes in Upper Egypt


Here are the 42 Tarot cards of Egypt ... :-)

Image

http://ancientegyptweblog.blogspot.com/ ... chive.html

Each Nome had a special hieroglyph. The quoted webpage has the theory, that each nome refers to an astronomical point:

Image


The system of the 42 gods and the 42 Nomes seem to reach back to c. 2400 BC. It's said or claimed, that each temple carried inscriptions of the 42 signs, 20 (or 22 ?) at the backside, and 22 (or 20 ?) at the front side.
Each Nome had its own totem (or symbol), although it seems that those in Lower Egypt are of a later date than those of Upper Egypt. However, only the Upper Egyptian Nomes were represented in the form of a standard. Many Egyptian temples included a depiction of the Nomes, sometimes personified. The Capital city of a Nome was also its religious and economic centre as most Egyptians lived in small villages which were relatively undeveloped. Some also had a strategic importance either in defence of the realm or for the army´s excursions outside Egypt.

...

While the provinces of Upper Egypt did not change in number after the Old Kingdom, more Nomes were added to Lower (northern) Egypt as the marshes were cultivated land and the branches of the Nile changed course. Under the system that prevailed for most of pharaonic Egypt´s history, the country was divided into 42 nomes. For most of the dynastic period there were twenty-two Nomes in Upper (southern) Egypt and twenty Nomes in Lower (northern) Egypt.

The Nomes survived until the Roman Period when they minted "Nome coins" which still reflected the individual character and tradition of each Nome. However, they were abandoned during the bureaucratic reforms of Diocletian (245-312AD), and Constantine (272-337AD).
http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/nomes.html
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#24
To the Zauberflöte:

I found this:
A Living Depiction of the 22 Major Aracana Cards of the Tarot Deck

One author claims to have found another key to understanding The Magic Flute. Mozart and Schikaneder both played cards. The deck they used was a version of the mediaeval tarot deck. (The deck of 52 cards we use today descends from the same source.)

The overture and 21 following musical numbers make a total of 22 different musical depictions. The mediaeval tarot deck contained 22 Major Arcana cards, reflecting the physical and spiritual forces at work on humans and culminating in the card called "The World," which is a balance of all necessary elements, light and dark.

In this view, The Magic Flute puts on the stage living versions of each of these physical and spiritual forces, ending with the last musical number in which order and balance are restored to the realms of Sarastro and the Queen of the Night.

The number of scenes actually exceeds the number of musical sections. In addition, the last numbered musical section prodigiously includes Pamina's attempted suicide, the passage of the final tests by Tamino and Pamina, Papageno's attempted suicide, his discovery of Papagena, the final assault on the kingdom of the sun by the forces of the Queen of the Night, and the final chorus hailing beauty and wisdom.

In other words, it might be argued that for this Tarot theory to have any currency one must wink at a few items. But keep in mind that the composer and librettist created the numbering of the musical sections and that the last lengthy musical section does begin with the Three Boys announcing what will be the result of all the ensuing action, thus tying all of it to the culminating Tarot card "The World":

Soon, heralding the morning, the sun will shine forth on its golden path. Soon superstition will vanish, soon the wise man will triumph. Oh, sweet repose, descend, return to the hearts of men; then earth will be a realm of heaven, and mortals will be like gods.
http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/magflute/flutetxt.html
The author doesn't state the name of the author of this Tarot interpretation.

But there was counted "The overture and 21 following musical numbers make a total of 22 different musical depictions."
So there are "22 songs", not "22 scenes" (if I assume, that it was a correct counting). The "Stein der Weisen" also had 22 songs (If I assume correct counting of this source).

http://opera.stanford.edu/Mozart/Zauber ... retto.html
counts in something, which is called "Libretto" ...

1st Act: 19 "Auftritte" (I'm not sure, if this are "scenes")
2nd Act: 30 "Auftritte" (I'm not sure, if this are "scenes")

http://www.aria-database.com/translatio ... _flute.txt
Here's the complete text.
Something like "scenes" or "Auftritte" isn't marked, but with the help of the "Libretto" possibly arrangeable. Possibly one can also identify the 22 songs (in the case, that this is really the original).
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#25
More to Zauberflöte

Goethe wished to write a follow-up to the Zauberflöte. He attempted to gain the componist Wranitzky for this project. Goethe's text stayed a fragment in the time 1795-1801, and the case was closed without publication.
Goethes Fortsetzung beginnt als eine Rachehandlung: Die Königin der Nacht will durch Monostatos den inzwischen geborenen Sohn von Pamina und Tamino entführen lassen. Zwar kann Sarastros Zaubermacht dies verhindern, jedoch gelingt es Monostatos, das Kind in einen Sarg einzuschließen. Dieser Sarg lässt sich nicht öffnen, muss aber immerzu in Bewegung gehalten werden, damit das Kind nicht stirbt. Eine Reihe von Parallelhandlungen führt dieses Motiv fort: So muss unter anderem Sarastro als Pilger auf eine einjährige Wanderschaft gehen, wodurch seine schützende Fürsorge für die Gemeinschaft ausfällt. Unterwegs trifft er auf Papageno und Papagena, die ihre Kinderlosigkeit beklagen. Sarastro zaubert ihnen drei Vogelkinder aus goldenen Eiern herbei. Durch die Macht der Mutterliebe kann schließlich das eingeschlossene Kind von Pamina und Tamino befreit werden: als ein „Genius“ entsteigt es dem Sarg und entschwebt. Damit endet der ausgearbeitete Teil des Fragmentes. Überliefert sind außerdem noch ein weiterführendes Szenar und Paralipomena.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Zauber ... yter_Theil

Schikaneder made independently a 2nd part ("Das Labyrinth") and this was composed Komponiert 1797/1798, and the first show was at 12th of Jun2 1798 at the Wiedner Theater. Short after the show started plans to have a new theater, which was realized in 1801.

Image

The central figure shall present Schikaneder as "Papageno"

But the play didn't win much enthusiasm. It got only 67 presentations.
Act 1 had 22 (!) scenes, act 2 24 (?) scenes.

In 1803 Schikaneder himself shortened the version.

Other not very remarkable experiments for a second part are recorded ...
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Labyrinth

****************

Well, perhaps one shouldn't overlook the political components. The 3 fairy tails operas of 1789-1791 accompany the beginnings of the French revolution before it became very bloody. Goethe's attempt to make something with it, appears 1795 in a phase, when the most bloody events had been settled. 1801, when Goethe gave up the project, is the year, when Napoleon was crowned as emperor. 1803, when Schikaneder changed his second version, the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss finished a lot of things in Germany and had the consequence, that the German Empire ended in 1806.

Just for some amusement: a part of Oberon from Wranitzky, made on the base Wieland's Oberon.

Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#26
Huck, I looked all through your material on the 42 gods, and I didn't see anything indicating that it was known in 1790 Vienna. All I saw was one "copyright 2004."

I will make a pdf of the the two Finales to Stein, in both German and English, and email it to you; perhaps then you will see what I am saying with regard to the number of scenes, which is not 42 but 49 or 50. I give 49 as a possibility because I see that the 50th scene (the 29th of Act 2) is marked off in the English but not the German. There is a scene change of sorts, but it is one that involves subtracting things (the bad guys, through a trap door) and adding people (the resurrected chorus) and things in the background. The foreground doesn't change, and the main characters just stay put. 49 makes more numerological sense, as it is 7 x 7. Magic Flute has the same number of scenes, 19 in Act 1 and 30 in Act 2 (if I can trust the translation at http://books.google.com/books?id=21BX31 ... an&f=false).

The problem, Huck, is that you aren't looking at the libretto, but a synopsis of the libretto. The pages will be from Der Stein der Weisen, edited by David J. Buch, Middleton, Wisconsin, 2007.

The material you found at
http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/magflute/flutetxt.html
is exactly the same as what I started this thread with, the essay by Stephen W. Seifert, Executive Director of Opera Colorado, for which I gave the same link (http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/magflute/flutetxt.html). I made the same comment, that the writer, Seibert, doesn't say who the author of this theory is. (See the post at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=893&start=0#p12958.) Now I see that it might be Van Den Berk, 2004, whose version of the theory I cited a little before your last series of posts.

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#27
Looking once more at the scenes in Stone vs. Flute, I see that while the word in German is "scena" in Stein, in Flute it is "Auftritt," literally "Entrance". Often there is a new Auftritt when there is no scene change whatsoever, merely somebody new coming on stage. But in the 29th and 30th Auftritten of Act 2, all sorts of people come and go within the Auftritt with no change in scenery and no change in Auftritt. It seems to me that that Shikaneder et al were determined to have a total of 49 Auftritten come what may, just as in Stone. 49 is the magic number, 7 x 7, just as 22 is for musical separations. Offhand, from reading the Neopythagorean Theology of Arithmetic, I'd say 7 was the number of Wisdom; but I'll see what people writing on Flute say.

I haven't posted the end of my discussion of Van Den Berk's tarot footnote, pp. 511f of The Magic Flute: an Alchemical Allegory. He concludes, at the end of his long footnote (p. 512):
As speculative as we may find reflections such as these, it is naturally plausible that in an opera with such obvious esoteric content from an alchemical point of view, additional esoteric perspectives were chosen, such as numerology, astrology, and tarot.
I of course think this is quite right. And this is clearly an afterthought. Van Den Berk doesn't miss many tricks when going through Flute, but he obviously wasn't thinking of Tarot as he did so. One example I noticed is in his discussion of the number 18, which appears in the scene-description at the beginning of Act 2, preceding the march of the priests (p. 84):
The scene is a palm grove. The trees are like silver, the leaves of gold; 18 seats of leaves, on each seat stands a pyramid and a large black horn worked with gold. In the middle are the largest pyramid as well as the largest trees.
Van Den Berk quotes the musicologist Landon, who observes that besides these 18 seats, pyramids, horns, priests, and probably trees, Sarastro first appears in scene 18 of Act 1; the chorus of the priests "O Isis und Osiris" is 18 bars long; Sarastro has 18 entries; his name is called out 18 times and sung 18 times; and a few other things. The significance? (p. 85):
Within the hermetic tradition, the number 18 also stood for the sun. Rosenberg mentions: "Clear is that 18 is a number of the sun: every 180 days we have a solstice on earth". Also in the kabbala eighteen is linked with the sun.
Etc. So about the 18 priests,
From the way they are positioned on stage, we may conclude that they represent the sun.
However there is a problem. Sarastro is in the middle, and 18 doesn't leave one in the middle, if the priests are on each side. But there is a solution (p. 86):
They would have to gather round in a circle. Only then can Sarastro's seat, being the largest, be in the middle. And there we are: a circle with a dot in the center is the alchemical symbol for the sun!
Such an arrangement, it seems to me, would be a staging nightmare. After the priests file in wordlessly, Sarastro has two long monologues, punctuated by brief remarks from priests. The audience in front will hardly be able to see him, much less recognize him as the dot in a symbol. I looked for early pictures of this scene. I couldn't find any, just one from 1927. It looked essentially like the one I link to below, from a recent a recent Metropolitan Opera production in New York. Aside from the art deco look (South Beach as opposed to Palm Beach?), I really don't see how else to do it.
http://oberon481.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83 ... b60970c-pi
Given the difficulties, it seems to me that if Shickaneder had wanted a circle, he would have said so. But with tarot in the picture, there is another solution. He is the 19th, not seated, and every tarock, tarot, and tarocchi player knows what card 19 has on it. All that is missing is the pair underneath, which is exactly the topic Sarastro is discussing with the priests.

Tonight I watched the DVD of Rameau's 1749-1756 Zoroastre. I expected it to be a tedious affair. It started slow, but after the first half hour or so it got interesting, especially the dancing (not Rameau's choreography, I don't think). By the end of the three-plus hours--going to between four and five, with the very good documentary--I was totally blown away. I'm speechless.

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#28
mikeh wrote: Van Den Berk quotes the musicologist Landon, who observes that besides these 18 seats, pyramids, horns, priests, and probably trees, Sarastro first appears in scene 18 of Act 1; the chorus of the priests "O Isis und Osiris" is 18 bars long; Sarastro has 18 entries; his name is called out 18 times and sung 18 times; and a few other things. The significance? (p. 85):
Within the hermetic tradition, the number 18 also stood for the sun. Rosenberg mentions: "Clear is that 18 is a number of the sun: every 180 days we have a solstice on earth". Also in the kabbala eighteen is linked with the sun.
... :-) ... this is a little bit amusing, cause the 19 is connected usually to the sun. The lunisolar calendar has 19 years (19 years and 235 moons cycles). 12 zodiac-signs and 7 planets (12 + 7 =) make the world and the 19th is the sun as the center of it. And 19x19 = 361, so nearly the number of days in the year.

18 is the moon, cause of the astrological moon nodes (which need 18+ years. But 28 (moon calendars) and 29 (moon-months) is also common.
Etc. So about the 18 priests,
From the way they are positioned on stage, we may conclude that they represent the sun.
However there is a problem. Sarastro is in the middle, and 18 doesn't leave one in the middle, if the priests are on each side. But there is a solution (p. 86):
They would have to gather round in a circle. Only then can Sarastro's seat, being the largest, be in the middle. And there we are: a circle with a dot in the center is the alchemical symbol for the sun!
18 priests plus one center makes then 19. ... .-) ... it's nice, when one can count a little bit.
Such an arrangement, it seems to me, would be a staging nightmare. After the priests file in wordlessly, Sarastro has two long monologues, punctuated by brief remarks from priests. The audience in front will hardly be able to see him, much less recognize him as the dot in a symbol. I looked for early pictures of this scene. I couldn't find any, just one from 1927. It looked essentially like the one I link to below, from a recent a recent Metropolitan Opera production in New York. Aside from the art deco look (South Beach as opposed to Palm Beach?), I really don't see how else to do it.
http://oberon481.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83 ... b60970c-pi
Given the difficulties, it seems to me that if Shickaneder had wanted a circle, he would have said so. But with tarot in the picture, there is another solution. He is the 19th, not seated, and every tarock, tarot, and tarocchi player knows what card 19 has on it. All that is missing is the pair underneath, which is exactly the topic Sarastro is discussing with the priests.
... .-) ... with the interesting feature, that the Ferrara Tarot had an 18 for the sun.
Tonight I watched the DVD of Rameau's 1749-1756 Zoroastre. I expected it to be a tedious affair. It started slow, but after the first half hour or so it got interesting, especially the dancing (not Rameau's choreography, I don't think). By the end of the three-plus hours--going to between four and five, with the very good documentary--I was totally blown away. I'm speechless.
Was it good?
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#29
Yes, it was very good. I didn't know they were still playing the old B order in 1790 Ferrara. If so, I stand corrected. I thought I read somewhere that they were using French-style cards then. But who knows what they played in all those little towns? To be safe, I should have said, "every tarock or tarot player".

Re: Mozart, Tarot, Isis, and Ercole d'Este

#30
So now I'm ready to say something about Rameau's Zoroastre. From a tarot perspective, the story is very similar to that of The Magic Flute or The Philosopher's Stone. The main differences are that there is no comic character (the Fool of tarot) and the evil characters are much more prominent. While the virtues are given lip-service, it's the vices that take the stage. And the Queen of the Night character, here a princess allied with the evil magician, is the star, vastly more prominent than in Flute. Evil is more powerful here than in the Vienna pieces, and it is taken more seriously. For example , the Charioteer is the evil magician rather than the good one. It is as in de Mellet's and Etteila's characterization (as "dissensions, murders" etc.) rather than de Gebelin's (as "Osiris Triumphant" and "the supreme invisible Godhead").

Some might say that the similarity in the works is due to the fact that Zaroastre's librettist was a prominent Mason. But the similarity isn't in the Masonic elements, at least not in any overt sense. It is true that there is an initiation through the elements, but it is early on and does not involve trials. (The DVD cover, which you can see online, shows the King of the Genies with 4 pairs of arms behind him, representing the four elements. They are in a circle echoing the magic "circle of the sun" talisman in Flute.) There are no processions of sanctimonious priests, etc. There are trials, but they are trials in life.

I don't know if the similarities are due to the influence of tarot, or if the C order tarot simply tells a story that was repeated over and over in countless ways in 16th-18th century Italy and France. It certainly seems to be present wherever I look. Do people really say of the C order that it doesn't tell a story? How familiar are those people with the literature of France and Northern Italy in those days? And although we hear that in the 1760s Paris tarot was unknown, these people traveled a lot. Rameau was 66 when he wrote [/i]Zoroastre[/i]. He grew up in Dijon and lived in Lyon and Milan among other places.

One area that was a bit confusing to me was what, in Flute, corresponds to the Star, Moon, and Sun cards. I said it was the trials by water and fire, but the Moon and Sun could also be the brief ascendency of the Queen of the Night (as in a a solar eclipse) followed by the victory of the followers of the Sun. Conceivably they could also represent the ascendancy of the heroine and the hero at the end. In [Zoroastre, where there are no trials by water and fire, the parallel would clearly be to the temporary (and in Zoroastre, very ambivalent) ascendancy of Night followed by the victory of the Sun--a victory which no doubt will be eclipsed again, just as sun and moon alternate in the sky. The Star card here would correspond to a deluge produced by the forces of evil, a negative card as it was for Etteilla (as opposed to de Gebelin). (Alchemically, in the 18th century, this would be the regimens of the planets (the "peacock's tail) followed by those of the Moon and the Sun.)

In Flute, the main magical object is a flute. In Stone, despite the title, it is a bird that seems to sing at all the wrong times. In Zoroastre, it is a book that the King of the Genies gives to Zoroastre, one that is continually displayed but never talked about. We are perhaps to think of the Bible or the Koran. But in a Zoroastrian context it would be the Chaldean Oracles, which was available in French translation, a large set of mysterious sayings embedded in the works of the ancient Neoplatonists which Plethon, in a short version, had first sprung upon the West. If I am right that the tarot sequence would also have been interpreted by some--especially Masons--in terms of the Oracles, then it is a very short step from this object in Zoroastre to the "Book of Thoth" a couple of decades later.

But looking at Zoroastre in terms of tarot, alchemy, and pseudo-Persian sayings in a way trivializes a very thoughtful and vital work. The producers of the film, in 2006, could not help but think of it in terms of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. So although Flute only has two attempted suicides, the dancers in Zoroaster (probably not following original choreography) mime dozens of suiciders, while the vices call for acts of terror. At the same time the character Vengeance sings in language that mocks the propaganda of state war-machines. In the opera, vengeance is not only evil but absurd, portrayed in ways that Hamlet only briefly touched upon.

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