The story of the magic flute diaries:
Tom and his girlfriend travel to the Austrian capital to audition for an authentic baroque production to be presented by a North American touring company. Tom tries to convince himself that he has enormous potential as a singer, but in his heart he worries he lacks the confidence and vocal capacity to become a truly gifted leading tenor. His girlfriend Sandy, whom he secretly considers to be a second-rate singer, has persuaded him to audition. His discomfort is accentuated by the fact that he feels trapped in a relationship with someone who has pushed him into a world he wants to escape— both personally and professionally. He wants to leave Salzburg, but when he is offered the lead role of Tamino and Sandy is offered the supporting role of Papagena he reluctantly accepts and agrees to stay.
As rehearsals unfold in Salzburg’s historic Landestheater, Tom finds himself held in thrall by the magical power of Mozart’s score. He is completely disoriented at the epicenter of such intense musical genius. He tries to picture in his own mind the fantasy Mozart was intent on creating and his imagination transports him in and out of the opera’s story, as if part of his own personal daydream. Gradually he becomes engulfed by the delicious and intoxicating musical atmosphere swirling around him.
However Tom’s personal relationship with Sandy begins to crumble. He becomes obsessed with his mysterious co-star, Masha; an unknown Russian soprano of astonishing talent. This extraordinary young singer is kept isolated from both the Company and the Press by her Manager, Professor Nagel. Tom finds himself seduced as much by Mozart’s music as by his bewitching co-star. As he listens to Masha perform Pamina, he is increasingly awkward about playing opposite such brilliance. Desperate to find the magic to transform himself into Tamino, Tom’s obsession with Masha leads him to follow her through the streets and back alleys of Mozart’s spectacular 18th century birthplace. Tom discovers that Professor Nagel has held Masha captive in a local monastery for months, forcing her to rehearse in isolation. Tom’s concern for the girl becomes the behind-the-scenes intrigue which begins to parallel the operatic fable actually being played out onstage.
A peculiar Director from an eastern European orphanage, who is following the Professor, informs Tom that Masha was adopted as the wife of a wealthy and famous Soviet criminal who has recently disappeared. She implies that the Professor has taken charge of Masha’s finances as well as her career; warning Tom that many of the husband’s enemies want to pursue this girl in order to settle their score. Tom is perplexed that Professor Nagel would risk presenting Masha onstage amidst such controversy. The Director seduces Tom into letting her know where the Professor is hiding Masha, as a ruse to help the girl.
Tom also tries to assist the enigmatic Masha as the backstage drama worsens. Masha holds Tom’s emotions hostage until he is unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality; between his life and the opera. In a spectacular chase sequence to rescue Masha and evade her assailants, Tom’s surreal pursuit collides with the melodrama of the opera. Like his character in the opera Tom wonders if he too is being tested for a higher purpose, when he begins to see that happiness is always beyond his grasp. Tom is also unable to distinguish if the Professor is a friend or a foe; as indistinguishable as the evil sorcerer in the opera, Sarastro, who captures the Princess Pamina. He begs Masha for the truth. The tale she reveals to him is as fantastic as the fairytale behind the opera itself—and all the more compelling because Tom realizes he must also play out his role in Masha’s story, through to the finale. Masha escapes from her enemies unscathed, without any assistance from Tom. His desperation to believe in Mozart’s opera has left him feeling like a fool. To his bewilderment Masha silently comes to him at the conclusion of the production however, to show him her gratitude and sincere affection.
In confronting Mozart’s genius, Tom uncovers the composer’s innate capacity to instill faith in the extraordinary and to make an audience believe in the impossible. Stumbling through his own ‘real- life opera’, he sees both stories full circle. He is at once the odd man out and yet capable of love and subtle intuition. His acceptance of the transitory nature of happiness has opened his heart to true love and given him a purpose.