The Magic Flute is noted for the many Masonic elements and symbolism within the libretto, costumes, characters, and scenery and is also laden with elements of 18th century Enlightenment philosophy, with the Queen of the night representing resistance to Enlightenment (some believing that she is the representation of the Catholic Church and the anti-Masonic Empress Maria Theresa who persecuted Freemasonry). Sarastro is the enlightened sovereign who rules according to the enlightened principles of reason, wisdom, and nature. The story reflects the progression of humanity as Princess Pamina and Prince Tamino go through the various trials in order that they may learn and grow and eventually attain enlightenment.
Its first London premiere wasn't until 1811, with Nancy Storace's common law husband, John Braham, singing the tenor role of Tamino.
The following videos feature baritone Simon Keenlyside as Papageno and soprano Diana Damrau as the Queen of the Night.