The Magic Flute
An enchanting production of Mozart's final operatic masterpiece
True love conquers all in a colourful fairy tale that pits the forces of darkness against truth, goodness and light.
Prince Tamino is on a quest: to rescue the beautiful Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, who has been kidnapped by her father Sarastro. But is all really as it seems? With the help of bird-catcher Papageno, Tamino must brave not only dragons and the forces of darkness but trials of fire and water if he is to arrive at the truth and gain Pamina as his wife.
Composed just months before his death, Mozart’s final stage work is a musical masterpiece that reimagines opera for the Age Of Enlightenment. The sweetness and apparent simplicity of this enchanting score conceals a great deal of sophistication, weaving some of the composer’s most beautiful and best-loved melodies together in an elegant allegory whose wicked queens and noble princes are just the beginning of the story.
This playful production sets the action in a turn-of the century Viennese hotel, with the magical elements of the story brought to life with puppetry.
Alone in a foreign land, Prince Tamino is attacked by a giant serpent. He faints but, when he comes to, realises that he has been rescued – someone else has killed the monster. Papageno, the Queen of the Night’s bird-catcher, is quick to claim the credit, but is soon corrected by the queen’s three ladies. They give Tamino a portrait of Pamina, the queen’s daughter, who has been abducted by the tyrant Sarastro. Tamino falls instantly in love. The queen herself appears, and promises the Prince her daughter’s hand if he can rescue her. To help him on his quest, the ladies give him a magic flute and three magical spirits to guide him. He sets off, joined by an unwilling Papageno.
Sarastro persuades the brotherhood to accept Tamino as a member if he passes the order’s tests of initiation. Tamino and Papageno face the first trial: silence. Papageno fails almost immediately, but Tamino holds firm. The Queen of the Night still seeks revenge, and orders Pamina to kill Sarastro. Monostatos overhears and threatens to expose the plot unless Pamina surrenders to his desires. But Sarastro discovers his scheme, banishes Monostatos and forgives Pamina. Papageno and Tamino are still sworn to silence. Papageno once again fails by talking to an old woman. Tamino plays his magic flute, which summons Pamina to him. She speaks but he cannot reply, forcing her to believe that he no longer loves her. Sarastro orders Pamina and Tamino to bid each other a final farewell – they must now prepare for their trials. Papageno expresses his wish for a wife of his own, and is rewarded by the return of the old lady. But the instant he reluctantly agrees to marry her she is transformed into his perfect Papagena, only to be immediately whisked away by the brotherhood: he is not yet worthy of her.
Main image: Painted collage by Shadric Toop