There’s an obvious advantage to creating opera sets in miniature that are not intended for full-scale realization. Obviously you avoid logistical problems, such as getting sight-lines right, or trying to make a machine full of little boys appear to fly. In making these twelve scenes, the director of course was Mozart’s music, and the actual set designer was Schikaneder’s 1791 libretto. As I read it, the scenes sprang to mind, each with a New York City counterpart. This is not surprising, since New York is a city of allegory, music and magic, and has plenty of Masonic symbols if you look for them.
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The Queen of the Night
Sarastro’s Egyptian Room
The Temple of Wisdom
A Palm Grove
Monostatos and Pamina
The Flying Machine
The Sound of the Flute
The Vault Beneath the Pyramid
The Cabinet of Reflection
The Trial by Fire and Water
Papageno’s Nest
Sarastro’s Sun