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Recognition in Mozart's Operas$
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Jessica Waldoff

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151978.001.0001

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Operatic Enlightenment in Die Zauberflöte

Operatic Enlightenment in Die Zauberflöte

(p.17) 1 Operatic Enlightenment in Die Zauberflöte
Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Jessica Waldoff

Oxford University Press

This chapter illustrates the value of recognition as an approach by providing a detailed analysis of plot, text, and music in Zauberflöte. With its rich store of enlightenment metaphor and symbolism, its overt treatment of knowledge as subject, and its marvelous dénouement in which the ascendance of light vanquishes the forces of darkness, this opera offers a marvelous demonstration of how recognition works at the levels of plot and theme. Tamino's famous colloquy with the priest in the Act I finale is read as a recognition scene. Later recognition scenes involving Papageno, Pamina, and Tamino are also discussed. The final section suggests that the contrivance (and reversal) various critics have sensed in Zauberflöte may be understood as what Terence Cave has called the “scandal of recognition”.

Keywords:   Die Zauberflöte, recognition, knowledge, contrivance, Terence Cave, scandal of recognition, Tamino

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