Opera Australia Blog

Who’s Who in The Magic Flute: A Character Guide

Monsters and magical flutes, princes and priests, bears and buffoons: a one-stop guide to help you tell friend from foe in the colourful world of The Magic Flute.

The Hero

Tamino. Photo by Branco Gaica

Photo by Branco Gaica

Tamino (pronounced tah-mee-no)

A young prince who sets out on an adventure to find and rescue his princess.


The Queen

Photo by Branco Gaica

Photo by Branco Gaica

Queen of the Night

The Queen of the Night pretends to be on Tamino’s side at their first meeting, but we’ll soon find out she’s not as nice as she seems! Listen out when she sings: her songs have very, very high notes!


The sidekicks


Photo by Branco Gaica

Three Ladies

The Queen of the Night has three “ladies”, who are her attendants and do her bidding.


The funny guy


Photo by Branco Gaica

Papageno (pah-pah-gae-no)

Papageno is a bird-catcher who sells his birds to the Queen of the Night. He’s a simple guy who just dreams of having a girlfriend!


The guides


Photo by Branco Gaica

Spirit boys

Three boys are sent to guide Papageno and Tamino on their dangerous path.


The heroine


Photo by Jeff Busby

Pamina (pa-mee-nah)

Pamina is the daughter of the Queen of the Night. She’s one part damsel-in-distress, locked up in the house of Sarastro (we’ll meet him in a second) and awaiting rescue. She’s also very brave, standing up to her mother!

the bad guy


Photo by Branco Gaica

Monostatos (moh-noh-sta-tohs)

Monostatos is the mean and greedy servant of Sarastro. He’s not really loyal to anyone and goes after anything he wants!


The wise guy


Photo by Jeff Busby

Sarastro (sah-rah-stroh)

The tall and imposing Sarastro is High Priest of the Sun. At the start of the opera, we think he’s the bad guy (but we might change our minds as the story goes on!)


 The love interest


Photo by Branco Gaica

Papagena (pah-pah-gae-nah)

A cheerful simple girl who goes around disguised as an old woman, Papagena is looking forward to finding a man and settling down to have some little baby chicks.

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3 Responses to “Who’s Who in The Magic Flute: A Character Guide”

  1. David Hoffecker

    I am a music teacher at the Center for Creative Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee and I devote most of January to the music of Mozart. We watch Amadeus, read Mozart’s letters, listen to chamber and symphonic works, and watch the Met production of Magic Flute. I used your character materials in a handout to give my students a thumbnail sketch of the various characters in the opera. Thank you for your efforts; I found the costumes most intriguing.


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