Andrea's footnote 1 merely documents the place and date of the opera, and the rest of the essay is concerned to document the composer's passion for Tarot, with nothing more about The Magic Flute. For an explanation of how the opera was dedicated to these cards, we will have to wait for another essay.Mozart, come ogni altra persona del tempo, era affascinato dai tarocchi, tanto da dedicare a loro, da buon massone, un'opera dal carattere iniziatico, cioè il Flauto Magico (1).
(Mozart, like every other person of the time, was fascinated by the Tarot; he was so charmed that he even dedicated to it, as a good freemason, a work of initiatory character: The Magic Flute (1).
Meanwhile, Andrea's suggestion stimulates me to look further. On the Internet I find this, from an essay by Stephen W. Seifert, Executive Director of Opera Colorado (http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/magflute/flutetxt.html). Please ignore the term "mediaevel" (since tarot is from the early Renaissance), and consider these remarks in relation to the Marseille, or perhaps Besancon, decks of Mozart's time.
Other articles on the Internet describe Mozart's enthusiasm for tarot: http://www.salzburg.com/sn/wochenschau/ ... 74341.html, available in GoogleTranslate; and http://www.westpark-gamers.de/index.htm ... 8JkfJ6hrZw (click on "Podcasts" and scroll down to "Mozart the Gamer"). No doubt he played not only in 1780 (the time Andrea documents) but later, and not only Mozart, but his librettist Schickaneder (some think Giesecke). In Schikaneder's summer house, where the opera was supposedly created, they would have done more than just work.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 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.
Seibert does not say, that I can find, what author proposed the idea that the Magic Flute and Tarot were connected. But he goes on to say that the first song, in the original score, was number 2, making the Overture number 1. That and the artificial length of musical interlude number 22 (or number 2 in the conventional numbering) may thus point to a deliberate attempt to give the work 22 musical divisions.
I looked for confirmation for what Seibert says about the 22 musical sections. According to Michael Freyhan in The Authentic Magic Flute Libretto, p. 1, the autograph is online at http://digital-b.staatsbibliothek-berli ... loete.html. That url gave me the index; when I put in "Mozart" and scrolled down, the autograph there had no section number for the first song that I could see. Perhaps it is on a page they didn't show.
Another source is Mozart's own Vezeichnüß aller meiner Werke Vom Monath Febrario 1784 bis Monath... (Catalog of all my works from the Month of February 1784 to ...), quoted in translation by Peter Branscombe in Die Zauberflöte, p. 78). It says, in the part for 1791:
Then he goes on to name the principal singers and their parts, as well as to give a few bars of music. After that follows the entry for La clemenza di Tito, dated 5 September, the eve of its premier. Then comes:In July
Die Zauberflöte. --performed the 30th September.
---------------a German Opera in 2 Acts. By eman.
Schickaneder. consisting of 22 pieces...
Branscombe observes:the 28th September.
to the opera die Zuberflöte - a Priests' March and the Overture.
The part about 22 numbers, come what may, is verified enough for me.These entries repay careful examination. '22 pieces' is correct, if one includes the overture as no. 1 (as Mozart did); and the Priests' march which, though composed only at a very late stage, was planned from the beginning, as the libretto makes clear. Mozart's indication of a total of twenty-two musical numbers does not necessarily exclude the problematical duet for Tamino and Papegeno (see pp. 57-8 and 207-8), which could havbe been removed to make way for another number, or if a late addition to the score could have been numbered, say, 11 1/2.
It is not hard to see the cards in the opera. Here is my take on the sequence. The first scene shows a dragon killed by Magic wielded by three ladies. Next comes the Foolish Papageno. We are then introduced to the Queen of the Night, a combined Popess (or Juno)/Empress, who tells us of her deceased husband's successor Sarastro, a Pope (or Jupiter)/Emperor. Then the young hero Tamino (an Emperor to be) falls in Love with the picture of the Queen's daughter Pamina (an Empress to be). Later he will have the Choice of Hercules, to rebuff her in the initiatory trials. Tamino and Papageno are given their magical musical instruments and sent off to rescue Pamina from Sarastro.
Soon we are greeted by the spectacle of Sarastro's entrance on a Chariot: The libretto gives the description:
Ein Zug von Gefolge; zuletzt fährt Sarastro auf einem Triumphwagen heraus, der von sechs Löwen gezogen wird.
(Sarastro - in a triumphal carriage drawn by six lions - makes his entrance with his retinue.
(German from http://www.zeno.org/Literatur/M/Schikan ... .+Auftritt); English from http://www.murashev.com/opera/The_Magic ... to_English).
A portrayal of this scene is in an early engraving reproduced by Branscombe, his Photo 10. I took a photo of his photo, which can be seen below:
It looks to me like a combination of the Pope (minus his papal insignia) and the Chariot cards. The wheels even are shown sideways, an odd feature of the Marseille card. A very-tarot like image of the Sun is on Sarastro's chest. This is not Mozart, of course; it just shows that others could recognize the tarot allusions.
Sarastro exhorts our hero to practice virtue, and Act One ends. As the action develops, the virtue of Fortitude is mentioned explicitly as something Tamino and Papageno will need. Temperance is also suggested in the trials by the temptations of wine and women. Justice tempered with mercy is the attribute of Sarastro.
The Priest leading them in the trials is called the Speaker. He is a fitting equivalent of the Hermit, the one carrying the lantern, in this light-centered opera. In the trials, one rises up, the other fails, as on the Wheel of Fortune card. Papageno is not only threatened with Death, but, deprived of what is revealed to be his lovely counterpart Papagena, he even starts to Hang himself, Judas-like.
Sorastro's assistant Monostatos and the Queen of the Night take the stage acting like the bisexual Devil,moving to strike against Sarastro and Tamino and deliver Pamina to be Monostatos's bride. Meanwhile the trials continue, with the candidates now being Tamino and Pamina, who must risk Death in joint trials of water (as in the jars on the Star card and the pool on the Moon card) and fire (like the Sun on the Sun card, beneath which are two young people).
Monostatos and the Queen make a sneak attack, but are defeated in a burst of thunder (hence lightning) and storm, like the figures on the Maison-Dieu card--a storm which metaphorically emanates from the Sun. Sarastro says,
Die Strahlen den Sonne vertreiben die Nacht,
Vernichten [the autograph has "Zernichten"] der Heuchler erschliche Mache!
(The rays of the sun drive away the night,
Annihilate the surreptitious power of dissemblers!).(Frehan p. 262)
Triumphant thanks to the magical power of the flute, Tamino and Pamina are raised up in the Temple of the Sun. Sarastro's Judgment on them is favorable, and Papageno, thanks to his glockenspiel's apparent powers, receives his bride (Magic in the last trick!) All is happiness and light at the end, as the World card suggests.
Why is any of this of interest to tarot researchers? Well, it suggests that the cards weren't seen merely as a game, but that their allegorical content was appreciated as well, at least in some circles, not only the individual cards but the whole, as an initiatory sequence of "singing cards" (with apologies to Aretino). It shows one way in which that sequence would have been interpreted allegorically at that time.
This thread will be continued.