The Met’s English-language family version of Mozart’s enchanting masterpiece has become one of the city’s essential holiday traditions. Evan Rogister conducts Julie Taymor’s spellbinding production, with special holiday pricing and a 100-minute running time. Nathan Gunn reprises his much-loved portrayal of the bird-catcher Papageno.
Premiere: Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna, 1791. A sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte in the original German) was written for a theater located just outside Vienna with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a Singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity, an excellent structure for navigating the diverse moods, ranging from solemn to lighthearted, of the story and score.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was the son of a Salzburg court musician who exhibited him as a musical prodigy throughout Europe. His achievements in opera, in terms of beauty, vocal challenge, and dramatic insight, remain unsurpassed. He died three months after the premiere of Die Zauberflöte, his last produced work for the stage. The remarkable Emanuel Schikaneder (1751–1812) was an actor, singer, theater manager, and friend of Mozart who wrote the opera’s libretto, staged the work, and sang the role of Papageno in the initial run.
Production – Julie Taymor
Puppet Designers – Julie Taymor/Michael Curry
Set Designer – George Tsypin
Choreorapher – Mark Dendy
Costume Designer – Julie Taymor
Lighting Designer – Donald Holder
Revival Stage Director – David Kneuss
The libretto specifies Egypt as the location of the action. That country was traditionally regarded as the legendary birthplace of the Masonic fraternity, whose symbols and rituals populate this opera. Some productions include Egyptian motifs as an exotic nod to this idea, but most opt for a more generalized mythic ambience to convey the otherworldliness that the score and overall tone of the work call for.
Evan Rogister – Conductor
Hanna-Elisabeth Muller – Pamina
Kathryn Lewek – Queen of the Night
Charles Castronovo – Tamino
Nathan Gunn – Papageno
Alfred Walker – Speaker
Tobias Kehrer – Sarastro