On November 6th, the stunning reimagining of Mozart’s famed opera, The Magic Flute, arrives on the shoulders of virtuosic South African troupe, Isango Ensemble. The Magic Flute has been transposed into languages cinematic, musical, and novel, and as we turn back the clock, it’s our pleasure to revisit Mozart’s final opera composition in all of its lush transformations and fairy-tale mastery.
The Magic Flute film, helmed by the great Swedish director Ingar Bergman, uses its frame as a conduit for scintillating musical expression while “casting some of Europe’s finest soloists—Josef Köstlinger, Ulrik Cold, Håkan Hagegård, and Birgit Nordin among them—the director lovingly recreated the baroque theater of Sweden’s Drottningholm Palace to stage the story of the prince Tamino and his zestful sidekick Papageno, who are sent on a mission to save a beautiful princess from the clutches of evil.” The film exudes a spirit that beckons love and forgiveness, “exhibiting a profound appreciation for the artifice and spectacle of the theater.” This transformation of Magic Flute is among the most brilliant opera films in cinema history.
Staying behind the camera, next up is Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation of the classic opera, the setting of which was updated to fit the backdrop of a World War 1 Battlefield. In this revamped version, the story of The Magic Flute takes place on the eve of World War I, unfurling as a young soldier waiting for the command to go to battle is transported into a twilight world between a dream and nightmare, on a deadly mission to rescue the daughter of the Queen of the Night from the dark lord Sarastro. While the artifice of the theater has been replaced for the discordance of warfare, there’s enough fidelity to the source material to warrant a viewing.
Now a part of 19/20 season at The Metropolitan Opera, The Magic Flute, replete of eye-catching visuals and puppetry, continues its run as the beloved holiday spectacle, chronicling Mozart’s delightful fairy tale in an “abridged, English-language versions for families, perfect for younger audiences, with no intermission and a running time of less than two hours.” Conductor Lothar Koenigs orchestrates a dynamic troupe of performers in a stunning production in what has become a veritable classic at the Met.
In The Magic Flute: An Opera by Mozart, adapted by Kyra Teis, the classic opera finds itself adapted into a children’s novel, still delivering the source material in all of its fairy-tale magnificence. This version of tells the story of Prince Tamino in his odyssey to save Princess Pamina from her evil mother, the queen. To help him on his quest, three spirits give him a magic flute that will enchant both animals and humans. With the help of his flute and the companionship of his jovial friend, Papageno, Prince Tamino “overcomes the trials of Silence, Patience and Courage and thereby wins the hand of Princess Pamina.”
Join us in welcoming back Isango Ensemble with The Magic Flute NOV 06-10 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre we get lost in a brilliant showcase of storytelling, music, and opera, all expressed through the prism of South African culture.