Opera review: The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)
Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden London, WC2E 9DD
Royal Opera House – map
Performance run: 16 April – 9 May 2013
Review date: 16 April 2013
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)
Nutshell synopsis (from the ROH site):
Overall production: ***** (out of 5)
Singing and choreography – ie overall performance by cast: ***** (out of 5)
Singing: ***** (out of 5)
Costumes: ***** (out of 5)
Sets: ***** (out of 5)
Music: ***** (out of 5)
Libretto: ***** (out of 5)
Lighting: **** (out of 5)
Creative interpretation: **** (out of 5)
Commentary: Many opera fans know The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) very well. It is the wonderful journey of Tameno and Papageno through a world of magic and Egyptian worship as they try and rescue Tamino’s true love Pamina from her captor Sarastro and also unite Papageno with his wife to be, Papagena. Tamino must also save Pamina from her mother and the Queen of the Night’s plans of murder (Tamino in this case).
With all, of this to portray, plus the Queen of the Night’s battle against Sarastro, the agendas of her three Ladies, Sarastro’s Temple of Osiris and Isis and the love stories Tamino and Pamina and Papageno and Papgena – plus Papageno’s love of wine – the Royal Opera House (ROH) creates a spectacular and beautiful tale of all this on the stage. The huge grand and dark sets, in which the story is set are amazing and the entire cast sings beautifully, emotionally and have stunning costumes – particularly the Queen of the Night, her daughter Pamina, and her three ladies.
Plus, Tamino and Papageno are very heroic. Sweeping and well-sung, against a grand tide of songs, sounds, costumes and sets, The ROH’s Die Zauberflöte is memorable, creative, unique and glorious. The evening, production and story are a three-hour treasure never to be forgotten with many thanks to its creators Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (music) and Emanuel Schikaneder (libretto), plus the efforts of the ROH – cast, creative, orchestra and all under the direction of David McVicar, revival director Leah Hausman and designs by John McFarlane. And how often, besides seeing wonderful sparkly costumes that capture “starlight”, does one get to see either a huge crescent moon or the sun on stage?
A clever and magnificent production by the ROH, plus of course, we learn about the magical flute, that was crafted by Pamina’s father – and when played not only is peaceful, heavenly and a lovely piece of the production, but also unites the young lovers and guides and protects Tamino and Papageno on their journey, to be with their true loves (Pamina/Tamino and Papageno/Papagena).