Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Magic Flute—Holiday Presentation
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The Met’s abridged, family-friendly version of Mozart’s musical fairy tale returns for the holiday season, with Maestro Duncan Ward making his company debut conducting Julie Taymor’s irresistible production. Tenors Ben Bliss and David Portillo share the role of Tamino, the noble prince on a quest to win the fair princess Pamina, sung by sopranos Joélle Harvey and Sydney Mancasola. The cast also features baritones Joshua Hopkins and Chris Kenney as the bird catcher Papageno, soprano Aleksandra Olczyk as the Queen of the Night, and bass Soloman Howard as Sarastro.
Abridged production of The Magic Flute a gift of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Original production of Die Zauberflöte a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis
Additional funding from John Van Meter, The Annenberg Foundation, Karen and Kevin Kennedy, Bill Rollnick and Nancy Ellison Rollnick, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Miller, Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman, and Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Zilkha
Languages sung in The Magic Flute—Holiday Presentation
Title languages displayed for The Magic Flute—Holiday Presentation
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Timeline for the show, The Magic Flute—Holiday Presentation
Estimated Run Time
1 hrs 55 mins
World premiere: Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna, 1791. A sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte in the original German) was written for a theater located just outside Vienna with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity, an excellent structure for navigating the diverse moods, ranging from solemn to lighthearted, of the story and score.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91) was the son of a Salzburg court musician who exhibited him as a musical prodigy throughout Europe. His achievements in opera, in terms of beauty, vocal challenge, and dramatic insight, remain unsurpassed. He died three months after the premiere of Die Zauberflöte, his last produced work for the stage. The remarkable Emanuel Schikaneder (1751–1812) was an actor, singer, theater manager, and friend of Mozart who wrote the opera’s libretto, staged the work, and sang the role of Papageno in the initial run.
Julie Taymor and Michael Curry
J. D. McClatchy
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The libretto specifies Egypt as the location of the action. That country was traditionally regarded as the legendary birthplace of the Masonic fraternity, whose symbols and rituals populate this opera. Some productions include Egyptian motifs as an exotic nod to this idea, but most opt for a more generalized mythic ambience to convey the otherworldliness that the score and overall tone of the work call for.
Mozart and his librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder, created The Magic Flute with an eye toward a popular audience, but the varied tone of the work requires singers who can specialize in several different musical genres. The baritone Papageno represents the comic and earthy, the tenor Tamino and the soprano Pamina display true love in its noblest forms, the bass Sarastro expresses the solemn and the transcendental, and the Queen of the Night provides explosive vocal fireworks.