Die Zauberfloete
The Magic Flute


Chagall Mozart Die Zauberflote
Chagall Mozart Die Zauberflote
Chagall, Marc
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Die Zauberfloete
The Magic Flute

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The San Diego Opera has scheduled performances of Die Zauberfloete for May 6, 9, 12, 14, and 17, 2006.

Natalie Dessay is scheduled to sing Pamina in Die Zauberfloete for Santa Fe Opera during its 2006 season.

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A plot synopsis can be found at the site of the Metropolitan Opera.

Another plot synopsis can be found at http://www.johnrpierce.com/zauberpsone.html

A libretto, in German, of Die Zauberfl�te can be found at http://www.spiritsound.com/zauber.html

A libretto in German, with an English translation can be found at http://www.aria-database.com/translations/magic_flute.txt

Some thoughts on "The Magic Flute"

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Los Angeles Times review, March 2002

Review by David Gregson of a March 2002 Los Angeles Opera Magic Flute

January 26, 2002, review of Opera Memphis performance

Sydney Morning Herald review of performance by Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre, October 6, 2001

A student performance in August 2001 by the Acad�mie Europ�ene de Musique du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence was reviewed by the following publications:


Review of a performance by Boston Lyric Opera on April 2, 2000

DIE ZAUBERFLOETE. Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. Sung in German, with English surtitles. Performed by the Boston Lyric Opera at the Shurbert Theatre, Boston. Production by The Royal Danish Opera. Conductor: Stephen Lord. Stage Director, and Set and Costume Designer: Mikael Melbye. Lighting Designer: Jesper Kongshaug. Partial listing of cast: Marcel Reijans (Tamino), Colleen Kramer (First Lady), Jossie Perez (Second Lady), Kristina Martin (Third Lady), Earle Patriarco (Papageno), Elizabeth Carter (The Queen of the Night), Frank Kelley (Monostatos), Mary Dunleavy (Pamina), Sanford Sylvan (The Speaker), Arthur Woodley (Sarastro), Eric Fennell (Second Priest/First Man in Armor), Eric Jordan (First Priest), Alison Trainer (Papagena), and Steven Humes (Second Man in Armor).

I attended a performance of Die Zauberfloete by the Boston Lyric Opera on the afternoon of Sunday April 2, 2000.

The most striking feature of the performance was the sets, by far the best designed sets for the Magic Flute that I have ever seen, and also the best sets ever used so far by the Boston Lyric Opera. The sets were relatively simple, with bright blue walls. In the scenes outside the temple, there were doors to Egyptian temples, with Greek names (e.g., "sophia" for "wisdom") above the doors. In the scene in which Pamina first appears, there are very tall yellow artificial flowers around an Egyptian couch. Most of the characters wore costumes more or less ancient Egyptian. Exceptions were Tamino in an unbecoming Japanese costume, and the Queen of the Night and her three Ladies, who wore eighteenth-century style European gowns with unusual headgear, the Quen a pointed hat, and the ladies headdresses suggestive of ancient Egypt. Papageno wore green leather trousers and a sleeveless top of large mostly green feathers and a matching feathered headdress. Papagena covered herself in something resembling a large chenille rug until she revealed herself to be a young woman wearing a feathered dress matching Papageno's top and headdress. The dragon was large and well designed. Instead of the often seen cute animal costumes, for the animals there were male dancers in skin-tight blue outfits with large animal heads.

The opera was performed entirely in German. The predominantly American cast was on the whole not up to the task of delivering spoken lines in German.

Papageno seemed to have the most dialogue, and Earle Patriarco's delivery of it was especially bad. He seems to think, incorrectly unfortunately, that the secret to seeming able to speak German is to speak it very quickly with the words run together. He tried very hard to be zany, but often fell somewhat short of the goal. His attempt at humor included slightly effeminate gestures (lots of short, quick steps, for example) and speech, reminiscent of characters providing comic relief in movies and situation comedies. His singing voice was good, but did not quite make the impression that other baritones in the role often succeed in making. Perhaps his apparent lack of German-language skills and his ditzy persona were part of the problem.

The Queen of the Night, Elizabeth Carter, seemed somewhat nervous in her first-act aria, perhaps because she was raised from the floor so as to appear to be more than twelve feet tall. In the second act, however, she revealed herself to be the most dramatically interesting member of the cast, and her revenge aria, with good coloratura, was the most impressive singing of the performance.

The Queen's daughter, Pamina, was sung by Mary Dunleavy. whose voice was quite pleasant, but whose dramatic characterization was quite bland and unconvincing. Her spoken German could use some work.

Marcel Reijans, the Dutch tenor singing Tamino, was more than adequate but failed to be very interesting as a singer or a character.

Arthur Woodley was suitably sonorous as Sarastro.

Sanford Sylvan was very good in the relatively small role of the Speaker. His voice is very pleasant, and both his spoken and sung German were quite clear. Alone among the cast, he succeeded in giving the impression that he actually knows how to speak German. Familiar with his skill with lieder, I would have very much liked to hear him sing the role of Papageno.

Both Frank Kelley as Monostatos and Alison Trainer as Papagena were up to the demands of their roles, and gave solid, interesting performances. The comic contributions of the Three Ladies were much appreciated by the audience. The boys singing the three spirits made a good effort.

The orchestra played well and was competently conducted by Stephen Lord. I hope to see more performances of such quality from the Boston Lyric Opera.

Review of a performance by New York City Opera in September 1999

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THE MAGIC FLUTE. Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. English translation by Andrew Porter. Partial listing of cast: William Burden (Tamino), Laura Knoop Very (First Lady), Leah Creek (Second Lady), Leah Summers (Third Lady), Mel Ulrich (Papageno), Jami Rogers (Queen of the Night), Jonathan Green (Monostatos), Elisabeth Comeaux (Pamina), Julian Patrick (Speaker), Gustav Andreassen (Sarastro), John Lankston (First Priest), William Ledbetter (Second Priest), and Jennifer Aylmer (Papagena). Conducted by Steuart Bedford. Production by Lofti Mansouri. Stage dirctor Albert Sherman. Set and costume designer Thierry Bosquet. Lighting designer Jeff Harris.

I attended Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at the New York City Opera on the evening of Saturday, September 25, 1999.

The opera was performed in a production dating from 1987. I would describe it as a pleasant, traditional production. It makes more reference, however, to the costumes and architecture of eighteenth-century Europe than to those of ancient Egypt.

From my seat B 107 in the second row near the center of the Third Tier, the "enhanced" sound emanating from the system newly installed this season was not bad at all. The orchestra sometimes seemed a little bit too loud. Still, I would prefer that there be no such system.

The performance used an English translation by Andrew Porter, performed without surtitles.

William Burden, an attractive young tenor who sang Tamino, was the outstanding singer in the cast. His enunciation of the text was extremely clear. I believe that I understood every word that he sang.

Baritone Mel Ulrich was quite good as Papageno. He slightly recalled Harpo Marx in appearance.

Jami Rogers as Queen of the Night delivered her coloratura arias quite effectively. She was especially well received by the audience.

Elisabeth Comeaux was good as Pamina, but her sound was occasionally a little bit matronly for the role.

The Three Ladies' enunciation was quite unclear. I think I could understand approximately ten percent of the words that they sang.

Steuart Bedford conducted quite well. On the whole, the performance was a pleasant one.

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Please click here for a brief review of 1791: Mozart's Last Year.

Some recommendations on recordings

Die Zauberfloete items at Mozart opera aStore


Ferenc Fricsay, Maria Stader & Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin - Mozart: Die Zauberfl�te (USA)
Ferenc Fricsay, Maria Stader & Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin - Mozart: Die Zauberfl�te  

Hermann Prey, Pilar Lorengar, Sir Georg Solti & Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Die Zauberfl�te - Highlights (USA)
Hermann Prey, Pilar Lorengar, Sir Georg Solti & Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Die Zauberfl�te - Highlights

On March 7, 2005, Chandos released a recording of The Magic Flute in English translation. Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, New London Children�s Choir, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The cast includes Simon Keenlyside as Papageno, and Barry Banks, Elizabeth Vidal, Rebecca Evans, Majella Cullagh, Sarah Fox, Diana Montague, Lesley Garrett, and John Tomlinson. The recording can be ordered from amazon.co.uk.

Opera In English - Mozart: The Magic Flute / Mackerras

Buy Opera CDs at ArkivMusic.com


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