The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is a Singspiel, a form of German-language music drama. The work was premiered on 30 September 1791 at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, just two months before Mozart’s death.

The Queen of the Night convinces Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from captivity under the high priest Sarastro. However instead, he learns the high ideals of Sarastro’s community and seeks to join it. Pamina and Tamino undergo extreme trials of initiation, which end in triumph, with the Queen and her cohorts vanquished. The earthy Papageno, who accompanies Tamino on his quest, fails the trials completely but is rewarded anyway with the hand of his ideal female companion Papagena.

The Magic Flute is noted for its Masonic elements. Some scholars however hold that the Masonic influence is exaggerated. Schikaneder and Mozart were Freemasons. The opera is also influenced by the enlightenment. The Queen of the Night is seen to represent a dangerous form of obscurantism, by others to represent Roman Catholic Empress Maria Theresa. Still others see the Roman Catholic Church itself, which was strongly anti-Masonic.

Der Hölle Rache, is an aria sung by the Queen of the Night, a coloratura soprano part, in the second act of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte). It depicts a fit of vengeful rage in which the Queen of the Night places a knife into the hand of her daughter Pamina and exhorts her to assassinate Sarastro, the Queen’s rival, else she will disown and curse Pamina.

Der Hölle Rache is one of the most famous of all opera arias, memorable, fast paced and menacingly grandiose. This rage aria is often referred to as the “Queen of the Night’s Aria”.


Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Sarastro Todesschmerzen,
so bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr.

Verstoßen sei auf ewig,
verlassen sei auf ewig,
zertrümmert sei’n auf ewig
alle Bande der Natur.

wenn nicht durch dich Sarastro wird erblassen!
Hört, hört, hört, Rachegötter, hört, der Mutter Schwur!

Drs. Christiaan Janssens

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