There have certainly been many innovations to the opera since Mozart breathed his short allotment of breaths, but I just feel as though he understood the medium better than anyone who ever lived. “The Magic Flute” premiered in 1791, two hundred thirty years ago. If you’re going to take a child to the opera, it’s still the one you go to. It was completed and premiered just months before his death, and seems to live in some sort of world of forms out of Plato – completely different from Wagner’s moody Teutonic myth orgies, Puccini’s and Verdi’s aching realism, and Philip Glass’s and John Adams’ ambiguously historical epics. What Mozart – and his music – possessed were wonder and whimsy, things completely alien to most composers, no matter their brilliance or time period. What can I say? He was freaking Mozart.