First premiering in 2003, David McVicar’s popular traditional interpretation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte, 1791) is set to receive its seventh revival by the Royal Opera in November, the Covent Garden-based opera company has announced.
Embracing both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s work, McVicar’s production transports the audience to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzlingly starry skies. The set design is by John Macfarlane, with Paule Constable’s atmospheric chiaroscuro – the use of strong contrasts between light and dark – lighting design and lively movement direction by Leah Hausman.
The plot follows the fortunes of Prince Tamino, who promises the Queen of the Night that he will rescue her daughter Pamina from the wizard Sarastro. He begins his quest, accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno. Tamino and Pamina undergo severe trials of initiation, which end in triumph.
Writing The Magic Flute for a suburban theatre in Vienna, the Theater auf der Wieden, Mozart drew on the magical spectacle and earthy comedy of popular Viennese theatre. It was an immediate success and premiered just two months before the composer’s premature death.
This latest revival comes under the baton of British conductor Leo Hussain, former music director of Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie; he made his Royal Opera debut in 2016 with Enescu’s Oedipe (1936).
British tenor Benjamin Hulett leads the cast as Tamino. He first performed at the Royal Opera in 2014 as Edmondo in Manon Lescaut (Puccini, 1893). French-Danish soprano Elsa Dreisig makes her Royal Opera debut as Pamina. In another debut, Finnish soprano Tuuli Takala shares the part of Queen of the Night with Greek soprano Christina Poulitsi, who sang the role in the Royal Opera’s last revival in 2017.
German bass Andreas Bauer Kanabas and Austrian bass Stefan Cerny share the role of Sarastro and Filipino tenor Rodell Rosel makes his Royal Opera debut as Monostatos. Italian baritone Vito Priante makes his Royal Opera role debut as Papageno and Chilean soprano and Jette Parker Young Artist Yaritza Véliz sings Papagena.
The Magic Flute opens at the Royal Opera House on 1 November and runs to 27 November.
The Queen of the Night in David McVicar’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Royal Opera).