Perspectives from Ancient Greece on Mozart’s Queen of the Night

06.10.2021 | By Renée S. Landzberg §0. Concepts of femininity from the Classical period pervade deeply through the Classical era of classical music, latter epitomized by the composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is not surprising then to see parallel traits in the mythological construct of Hērā, Queen of the Gods, and the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s hugely popular opera, The Magic Flute. A longstanding fascination with the classical… Read more

On a ‘guessing song’ sung by Cherubino in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro

2018.10.04 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The devinalh, or ‘guessing song’, was a special kind of love song composed by troubadours in the song culture of medieval Provence and later adapted by master poets of the Renaissance, most notably by Petrarch. The devinalh is specially coded, so that only the one who is loved will understand—supposedly—the words of the lover who composes and then sings the song. The problem is,… Read more

On Ingmar Bergman’s Queen of the Night in his film version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute

2017.10.26 | By Gregory Nagy This briefest of essays is about two arias sung by a character known as The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte or The Magic Flute of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which premiered in 1791, with German-language libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. I focus for a moment on the music and the words of these two arias as visualized by Ingmar Bergman in his Swedish-language film version… Read more