The Magic Flute adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by P. Craig Russell

Book Info
The Magic Flute adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by P. Craig Russell
© 1990 NBM Publishing, New York, NY
ISBN 978-01561633500

Plot Summary
This beautifully illustrated graphic novel adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beloved opera The Magic Flute tells the story of Prince Tamino. He was chased into the land of the Queen of the Night by a giant serpent, but rescued by the Queen’s three attendants who find him incredibly attractive. They report their findings to the Queen, who then approach Tamino and task him with rescuing her daughter, Pamina, who was kidnapped by her enemy, Sarastro. In return, the Queen offers Tamino the hand of her daughter in marriage. Tamino sees a picture of Pamina, instantly falls in love and accepts the challenge and so the Queen presents Tamino with a magic flute to aid him on his journey. Accompanied by his new-found friend Papageno, the bird catcher, the two set off to Sarastro’s palace to rescue Pamina and find true love.

Reader’s Annotation
This graphic novel adaptation of one of Mozart’s most beloved operas tells the story of Prince Tamino’s epic quest for true love.

Critical Evaluation
As a vocalist and musician, Mozart’s The Magic Flute has always been one of my favorite operas. It is a wonderful, magical and even comic-like story, usually performed with very colorful and vivid costumes and sets. Having seen the opera a number of times, I can say with confidence that this graphic novel adaptation of Mozart’s classic does not disappoint. Despite the obvious lack of music, this adaptation is as visually pleasing as its stage counterpart, clearly illustrating the story in vivid detail. The story itself, written not long before Mozart’s death in 1791, features large amounts of symbolism and allusion to Masonic elements, mostly in appearances of the number three as well as Masonic symbols. While these references might be lost on a teenage reader who lacks the drive to further research the story, it manages to stand alone as a beautifully told and illustrated story.

Information about the Author and Adaptor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.

P. Craig Russell is an American comic book writer, artist, and illustrator. His work has won multiple Harvey and Eisner Awards. Russell was the first mainstream comic book creator to come out as openly gay.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in painting, P. Craig Russell has run the gamut in comics. After establishing a name for himself at Marvel on KILLRAVEN and DR. STRANGE, he went on to become one of the pioneers in opening new vistas for this underestimated field with, among other works, adaptations of operas by Mozart (THE MAGIC FLUTE), Strauss (SALOME) and Wagner (THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG).

P. Craig Russell’s website.

Graphic Novel

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss the Masonic symbolism in the story.

Reading Level/ Interest Age

Challenge Issues

Why Included?
I included this graphic novel because the Magic Flute is a classic story, and due to its original form as an opera, it possesses greater artistic value for teens today.


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