Grand opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
In German with German and English surtitles. Duration 3 H. 05 Min. incl. interval after approx. 1 H. 10 Min. Introduction 45 min before the performance.
As popular as Mozart’s Magic Flute may be, it has more to offer than fairy-tale charm, catchy, Singspiel lightness and Viennese comedy. Tatjana Gürbaca, director of our Zurich production, also explores the deeper aspects of this mysterious work, which oscillates between robust provincial theatre and a philosophical mystery play – seriousness, motifs of death and existential questions about human existence – yet does not neglect the humorous side. She associates a primitive, wildly anarchical world with the sphere of the Queen of the Night, contrasting this with the realm of clearly prescribed power structures and narrow-minded order that is Sarastro’s temple. With highly imaginative staging, Gürbaca has these contrasts collide, combining the sheer fun of the theatre and disguise with profoundly melancholy scenes, and showing the female figures as consistently strong women: the very emancipated Queen of the Night revolts against the ossified patriarchy. Eager for life and longing for love, Pamina self-confidently seeks her own way in life, and the three Ladies are bearded pirates. In this revival, Ruben Drole’s Papageno is again as quirky as he is lovable. His dour adversary, Sarastro, will be performed by our ensemble member Wenwei Zhang. The French tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac will be débuting as Tamino. Since singing the role at the Aix-en-Provence festival in 2014, he has been one of the promising new stars in the firmament. Also for the first time at the opera house is the Chinese soprano Ying Fang as a pamina. Her recent successes in Mozart include, among others, Ilia (Idomeneo) at the Met and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Opera Philadelphia. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, American conductor Karina Canellakis is perfectly matched to this fresh young cast.