Austrian School, late 18th Century
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Austrian School, late 18th Century

An opera company preparing for The Magic Flute

Details
Austrian School, late 18th Century
An opera company preparing for The Magic Flute
oil on canvas
23 x 28¾ in. (58.5 x 73 in.)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The Magic Flute, or Die Zauberflöte, an opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder (1751-1812), was premiered in Vienna on 30 September, 1791, at the suburban Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden, only two months before Mozart's death on 5 December. Mozart conducted the orchestra, while Schikaneder himself played the comic part of the bird-catcher Papageno, and the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer.
Maynard Solomon has observed that 'although there were no reviews of the first performances, it was immediately evident that Mozart and Schikaneder had achieved a great success, the opera drawing immense crowds and reaching hundreds of performances during the 1790s'. The present painting shows an opera company, presumably from the 1790s, preparing for a performance, with the Queen of the Night seated in black at a mirror, and Papagena raising her skirt to reveal feathered pantaloons, while other members of the cast are shown practising singing or in various states of deshabille.

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