Simon McBurney’s production of Die Zauberflöte has won praise around the world as one of the most innovative and relevant interpretations of this popular Mozart opera. Now his production returns to the theatre where it was created.
The magical power of opera
Armed with a magic flute, a prince is sent out by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter from the clutches of cruel Sarastro. But during his mission, the prince discovers the world is not exactly as he was led to believe. What started as a rescue mission turns into a musical purification ritual for young people who are preparing to take over control from the old guard. Die Zauberflöte is an opera with many different layers. It is both comic and profound, humanistic and magical, complex and accessible.
Paper sheets transform into birds before your very eyes, a set of empty glasses becomes a glockenspiel, and a mobile platform functions first as a mountain, then a prison and then suddenly becomes a meeting table. Using such basic elements to trigger the audience’s imagination, McBurney demonstrates the magical power of theatre. The versatile conductor Riccardo Minasi is in charge of the musical direction. With DNO, he previously conducted Handel’s Rodelinda and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro to great acclaim.
The Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans will return as the comic and disarming Papageno, one of his signature roles. He will share the stage with soprano Ying Fang (Pamina), who has become a favourite with DNO audiences after her roles in Le nozze di Figaro and Der Freischütz. Young up-and-coming tenor Mingjie Lei takes on the challenging role of Prince Tamino, while celebrated bass Christof Fischesser performs the role of the high priest Sarastro.
Singspiel in two acts
Libretto Emanuel Schikaneder
Musical direction Riccardo Minasi
Stage direction Simon McBurney
Set design Michael Levine
Costume design Nicky Gillibrand
Lighting design Jean Kalman
Video design Finn Ross
Sound design Gareth Fry
Dramaturgy Simon McBurney, Klaus Bertisch
Sarastro Christof Fischesser
Tamino Mingjie Lei
Der Sprecher Frederik Bergman
Königin der Nacht Rainelle Krause
Pamina Ying Fang
Papageno Thomas Oliemans
Monostatos Lucas van Lierop
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master Edward Ananian-Cooper
Dutch Chamber Orchestra
Boys’ choir of the Chorakademie Dortmund
Coproduction with English National Opera (London) and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Photo: Marta Syrko