The Temple of Wisdom has triple entrances and a Corinthian colonnade; so does the New York Public Library. In the miniature, each door is flanked by a pair of globes: red (“Stand Back!”) for the doors marked “Reason” and “Nature”; green for the door that opens to “Wisdom.” The spheres represent the globes at subway entrances, color-coded to indicate access. Egyptian figures replace the Classical Roman statues on the Library pediment. This is Sarastro’s realm; his attribute is the lion (leadership, prowess, loyalty): we first see him in a chariot dawn by six lions. Not everyone knows that the Library Lions have names – Patience and Fortitude – qualities emphasized in the opera as prerequisites for initiation.
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Temple of Wisdom
26x27x18", 1997
Collection of Florida Grand Opera, Miami