The Cypress Grove
- 0:00 No. 1. Song: Papageno: Papageno is My Name
- 1:51 No. 2. Quartet: Papageno and the Three Ladies
Love and Duty
- 4:48 No. 3. Aria: Astro: A Man’s Duty
- 8:45 No. 4. Recitative: Astro, Sarastro: I So Pledge
- 11:13 No. 5. Fugue and Storm music
- 14:40 No. 6. Magic Flute music
No. 7. Funeral Service
- 16:57 7a Funeral March
- 18:51 7b Trio: The Three Ladies: Grief Overtakes Them
- 20:06 7c Duet: Two Men in Armor: The Throne of Ra
- 21:11 7d Chorus: Osiris Hear Our Prayer
- 23:29 No. 8. Monodrama: The Queen of the Night
I Will Have My Revenge
- 26:26 No. 9. Aria:Pamina: Death Has Now Invaded Me
- 30:24 No. 10. Aria: Saggio: My Son, Tamino Listen
The Cypress Grove – A One Act Prologue to The Magic Flute
Original Music and adaptations of Music of W.A. Mozart by Marshall Griffith
Libretto by Marshall Griffith and Anne Taslitz
Papageno, the bird-catcher for the Queen of the Night tries with limited success to catch birds and explains his life situation and hopes for the future. The Three Ladies come and indicate that Love and Duty are to be treasured. They give him a pan-pipe to aid in his bird-catching duties.
Astro sings of his love for family in their favorite place, the Cypress Grove, and then reveals to his daughter Pamina that he is gravely ill and will soon die. Astro’s impending death is greatly affecting his wife, The Queen of the Night.
Astro’s friend and colleague Sarastro discuss the plans for their temples of enlightenment. Astro has Sarastro pledge to take Pamina to the temple if The Queen shows signs of unbalanced behavior after his passing. They leave to inspect the progress of the temple’s construction. Music is heard representing the workmen constructing a temple.
A horrific storm occurs; lightning strikes and destroys the oldest tree in the Cypress Grove. Astro creates a magic flute from one of the fallen limbs.
The Queen and Pamina leave the Cypress Grove and while Astro is restoring order to the grove after the storm, he dies.
A funeral is held for Astro. The Three Ladies, the Two Men in Armor, and the Chorus sing about grief and wish him a safe journey to the next world. The Magistrate reads Astro’s will, and to the surprise of the Queen, the Solar Emblem of power is passed to Sarastro.
The Queen in an extended monologue reveals her anger at this decision and also remembers fondly her husband, Astro. She pledges her revenge on Sarastro. Without the Queen knowing, Sarastro has overheard her unbalanced rantings.
Pamina consoles her mother and the next day returns to the Cypress Grove and expresses grief over her father’s death.
Two of Sarastro’s men kidnap Pamina and in the struggle a small medallion from one of the kidnappers is dropped. The Queen rushes to the Cypress Grove to aid Pamina but fails: sees the medallion and reiterates her pledge of revenge against Sarastro.
The scene changes to a land far away from the Cypress Grove where Saggio discusses with his son Tamino the need for him to take a journey to further his education as a man. If someday he is to become a ruler, he must know himself better.
The Cypress Groves runs approximately 33 minutes in performance.
Papageno: A Bird-Catcher for the Queen of the Night
Three Ladies: Attendants of the Queen of the Night
Elizabeth Huff, Denise Green, Joanne Uniatowski
Astro: Husband of the Queen and ruler of his people
The Queen of the Night: Wife of Astro
Pamina: Daughter of Astro and the Queen of the Night
Sarastro: Astro’s best friend, Lord of the Temples
The Magic Flute
Hannah and Sophie Gilson
Two Men in Armor: Followers of Astro
James Hilton, Eric Bower
The Magistrate The Kingdom’s Magistrate
Saggio: Father of Tamino and ruler of his people
Tamino: A Prince and Son of Saggio
Notes from the composer:
The Magic Flute has been a source of interest of mine for over twenty years and will continue to be one. Much has been written about this opera and The Cypress Grove reflects many of the points of view of these writings. In most productions of The Magic Flute critical dialogue is often left out, leaving the listener confused about some of the plot details. The Cypress Grove highlights the details of those often-abandoned fragments to illuminate directly how characters interact and the back story of the plot of The Magic Flute.
Masonic elements that abound in The Magic Flute are included in The Cypress Grove as well. Mozart was a devoted Mason and Masonic thought permeates much of his music. The numbers three, (representing the masculine universe and the three levels of Masonry) five (representing the feminine ideal) and seven (the number of wisdom) are frequent. Mozart’s Magic Flute has a synthesis of these elements that culminate in the union of Tamino and Pamina.
The Cypress Grove was written over a very intense ten-day writing period in March of 2008.
Marshall Griffith (BM ’75, MM ‘77) has received awards from the Ohio Arts Council, the American Society of Composers and Publishers, and The Music Teachers National Association. His music has been played by numerous ensembles throughout the United States and is published by Theodore Presser and Belle Press. In addition to his compositional activities, he is one of Cleveland’s finest improvisational pianists and is heard frequently throughout Northeastern Ohio. He holds a Doctorate of Music degree from Indiana University and is on the faculty of The Cleveland Institute of Music.
Anne Taslitz has over twenty years of experience performing in and around Northeast Ohio. She has performed in dramas and musicals at a variety of theatres, including Cain Park, Porthouse Summer Theatre, The Jewish Community Center and Great Lakes Theatre Festival. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater from Case Western Reserve University, has studied voice at Kent State University and The Cleveland Music School Settlement where she studied with Angela Alessandro, and as a young person, she was a member of Cleveland’s Singing Angels.