Essay on Mozart's The Magic Flute

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Countless dozens of Ph.D theses must be written about Mozart's The Magic Flute and yet it is so lively with elements of fantasy and free-flying imagination that it is often the first opera to which children are taken. It has a plot of such complexity that it takes several viewings for all but the most studious opera buffs to sort out the characters and follow the ins and outs of the multilevel story. At the same time it has so much easily accessible charm and so many glorious Mozart tunes that even the novice will be captivated. There is a large cast of characters including the priest Sarastro (a very serious, proselytizing basso), the Queen of the Night (a mean, angry, scheming coloratura), and her daughter, the beautiful and …show more content…
But Mozart was working with co-librettist and theater director Emanuel Schikaneder, who was partial to the use of then state-of-the-art special effects on the stage. If the heavy Masonic ideas might get in the way of good theater, Schikaneder saw to it that the fantasy and stage magic kept his audience enthralled. At Berlin's Komische Oper this season, Schikaneder has found his soul-mate in Harry Kupfer, artistic director of the company and director of the new production of Flute. Kupfer, who has a reputation for imagination, if not for restraint, pulls out all the stops for this production (designed by Valeri Lewental). It looks as if they rummaged through the warehouse and threw onto the stage costumes and props from anything and everything played by Komische Oper for the last ten years. Kupfer makes a big opening mistake in bringing out Tamino before the overture, forcing him to cast about and pretend to act, when nothing is happening or even supposed to be happening during the overture. It's an old trick, gratuitous, meaningless, and embarrassing here. Another old trick is framing the action in the eyes of three boys who wander pointlessly through the entire evening's activities. A platform stands center stage which, with trap doors and elevators allows for scenery or scenic elements to rise and fall, as well as actors to appear and disappear. Large tubes of abstracted elements

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