The Afterword opens with a letter of 1791 in which Mozart relates an experience he has while attending a performance of Die Zauberflöte. He represents the episode as a recognition narrative in miniature that illuminates the opera's dependence on recognition as a vehicle for enlightenment. A final section makes two observations about the workings of recognition in the operatic context: the first concerning the almost unfailing optimism of the operas of Mozart and his contemporaries, and the second concerning the power of recognition in contexts beyond Mozart. The book concludes with the thought that critical thinking about recognition has much to tell us about operas of other types and periods.
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