Tamino must pass difficult tests to win Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute. In this blogpost you will learn more about Tamino and his role in perhaps Mozart’s most famous opera.
What you will read in this article:
Tamino Briefly Introduced
Tamino could actually be satisfied with his life: he is a prince and rules over a large kingdom with many people. However, Tamino has two problems:
First, he doesn’t have a partner yet.
Second (this problem is more urgent than the first), he is being pursued by a snake.
On the run from this snake, Tamino gets lost in the kingdom of the Queen of the Night. There he meets not only the bird catcher Papageno (who, by the way, also lacks a partner), but also three ladies from the Queen of the Night’s entourage, who send him on a difficult mission…
Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, has been kidnapped by Sarastro, her arch-enemy. Tamino is to rescue Pamina. Possibly fame and glory would be enough motivation for Tamino to embark on this mission. However, when the three ladies show him a picture of Pamina, an even stronger motivating factor is added – love:
(Peter Mauro, Royal Opera House Covent Garden)
Tamino's Role in The Magic Flute
The central theme of The Magic Flute, as is often the case in opera, is love. Tamino wants to save Pamina primarily because he fell in love with her when he first saw a picture of her.
But there is a second central theme of The Magic Flute, which may be the reason this piece has been one of the most performed operas ever for centuries: it’s about becoming a better person by overcoming trials. (If you’re already a die-hard opera pro, you’ll recognize an exciting parallel to Wagner’s Parsifal here…).
After all, it would be kind of boring if the love between Tamino and Pamina were just possible. Instead, Tamino has to pass difficult tests to prove himself worthy of love for Pamina.
So Tamino is not a classical hero. Strictly speaking, he only becomes this hero by passing the necessary tests in order to be allowed to love Pamina.
Tamino and Pamina even master the last test together. As a result, they are married by Sarastro, who had intended them for each other from the beginning.