The Magic Flute

Elaine saw the picture above and commented that she’d like to see some resources on “The Magic Flute”, since her very lucky students will have the opportunity to see a performance of it in a few weeks!

First, here are a few YouTube links.  Disclaimer:  You need to watch these yourself before you show them to your students.  I have not seen some of them myself, and the one that I show from “Amadeus” has more to do with Mozart’s illness and death than it does with the opera, however it does give a great idea of costuming and sets.

The book that I’m holding in the picture is “The Story of The Magic Flute” by Anne Gatti.  It comes with a cd, but in my opinion must be used in small doses because it’s too detailed and wordy to hold the students’ attention for more than 10 minutes or so.  Here’s the amazon link:

Possibly a better option might be “Mozart’s Magical Fantasy” from the Classical Kids collection by Susan Hammond.

 Again, it’s a 45 minute story with music.  (All music by Mozart), and I prefer to break it up into segments no longer than 10 minutes.  For each segment I give the students questions to think about, (and in the case of the older students, write about), before we listen.  For example, the first segment begins with a little girl, Sarah, who is at the opera house looking for her mother.  Her mother is singing the part of the Queen of the Night.  She has her flute with her, and is somehow transported into the story, where she immediately meets Tamino, and finds that her flute has the power to reduce the dragon to a little guy, who is willing to talk to her and tell her what’s going on in the kingdom between the Queen of the Night and Sarastro.  It’s all done in a way that will keep student attention.  Pre-questions might include something like:  Why is Sarah at the Opera House?  What happens to her while she is there?  Who does she meet within the opera?  (2 possible answers). What does she learn about the kingdom and from whom does she learn it?

I put the questions on the board and have the students answer them by writing in their listening  journals as they listen.  (Sometimes I stop the recording, to give them time to write.)

These cd’s are all stories that use the composer’s original music as the sound track to the story.  They are available in sets from

They are also available for download on iTunes for $9.99.  (iTunes cards are very handy to keep around.) There are teacher guides available , but I don’t have one for this particular recording.

Another resource for younger children, or as an introduction to the story and characters of The Magic Flute is a video by the same name as the opera.  Mine is VHS, and therefore I don’t even know if it’s still available, but if you can find it, here’s what it looks like:

 If you’re after accurate music, this is not the film for you.  It’s animated, and although the music still bears some resemblance to what Mozart wrote, it’s definitely been adapted for cartoon characters.

For your use, a quick synopsis of the  real Magic Flute story:

Characters: Tamino                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pamina                                                                                                                                                                                                              Papageno                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Papagena                                                                                                                                                                                                                Monostatos                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sarastro                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Queen of the Night

Act I.

Prince Tamino is attacked by a dragon, and faints in fear.  3 faeries sent by the Queen of the Night intevene and kill the dragon.  They leave, and when Tamino awakens he sees Papageno, the bird man, and assumes that it was he who saved him. Papageno lets the assumption stand, and the 3 faeries return and punish him for lying.  They show Tamino a picture of Princess Pamina who has been kidnapped from her mother, the Queen of the Night, by Sarastro, the magician.  The prince falls in love with her and promises to rescue her.  He takes Papageno with him to scope out Sarastro’s castle.  3 boys are sent to guide them, and there is also a magic flute for Tamino and silver bells for Papageno. At the castle Tamino is taken prisoner by Monostatos, one of Sarastros evil servants.  Tamino loses the Magic Flute.  Papgeno, meanwhile, has found Tamina, and goes to Sarastro and asks him to free her so she can marry Tamino.  Sarastro agrees and punishes Monostatos.  Tamino and Pamina are blindfolded and taken to the Temple of Wisdom to be purified.

Act II.

At the temple Tamino and Pamina are told that they have been chosen to marry, which is why Pamina was taken from the evil influence of her mother.  The 3 boys return and give the Magic Flute back to Tamino.  Papgeno wishes for a wife, and an old woman appears before him while he plays his solver bells.  She says that she will marry him, and when he agrees she becomes the young Papagena.  Meanwhile, Pamina and Tamino navigate the caves, where they are tried by fire, water and earth.  The music of the Magic Flute protects them.

Resources on Mozart himself I’ll save for another post.  Hope this is helpful!  :o)



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 18:21:26

    This is wonderful! I am teaching the Magic Flute this week, and I remember listening to the Mozart’s Magic Fantasy when I was a child. Thank you!


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