REVIEW: The Magic Flute

Magic Flute_Orchestra Tech 1 _November 18, 2013

(c) Robert Millard For LA Opera

The Minnesota Opera’s production of Mozart’s Lulu, oder Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Fluteis a stunningly brilliant reinterpretation of the famous 18th Century opera.  The creative team behind this show have taken the story and the visuals to a place few could ever have imagined.

The first thing that you will notice about this opera is that, rather than set up a traditional three-walled set with props and furniture, director Barrie Kosky and the group 1927 (that’s their name) built a two-story wall packed with trap doors through which the performers enter and exit. The wall serves as the screen for an elaborately animated projection that is superimposed over the performers, who interact with the images through pantomime and careful choreography to brilliant effect. The animation takes inspiration from fairy tales and silent movies and 70s psychedelic cartoons. It’s like the brain child of Mother Goose, Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang, Terry Gilliam, Charles Addams and the Coen Brothers, if they all got together and smoked something funky before getting down to business. If all this sounds like a giant distraction from the music, trust me, it is not.

While there are certainly scenes that are mesmerizing, you will not for a moment forget that this is a Mozart opera and there are world-class performers delivering awe-inspiring aria after aria.  Last year’s season finale, Turandot, was a marvel of elaborate costumes and an ornate set with a cast that filled the stage–everything you would imagine of an 19th Century operatic production. This new version of Die Zauberflöte gives opera the mashup treatment and it is simply brilliant. Do not miss it.

April 12-27, 2014
The Ordway
St. Paul
Tickets start at $20