The Magic Flute Comes to Florence

By Liz Brown-Kaiser (Virginia University)

The Opera:

Thursday evening, the Opera di Firenze welcomed the Florentine community for the opening night of Wolfgang Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte or The Magic Flute.

Directed by Damiano Michieletto, this rendition of the classic show was a hit. Protagonists Tamino and Pamina, played by Juan Francisco Gatell and Ekaterina Sadovnikova respectively, captured hearts with their complicated yet loving relationship. Papageno invoked laughter throughout the crowd while Sarastro made the audience question the symbolism present throughout the show, and the Queen of the Night wowed opera-goers with her impressive soprano performance.

Although centuries old, The Magic Flute touches on surprisingly contemporary themes such as the role of women in society, the importance of education, and the problematic nature of mental health issues.

Performed in the traditional German language and accompanied by both English and Italian subtitles, Die Zuberflöte or Il Flauto Magico, united a diverse audience via their passion for the opera.

The Magic Flute is particularly unique for its status as a singspiel, an opera that features both dialogue and vocal performances. The singspiel is separated into two acts, the first lasting one hour followed by a 30-minute intermission, and the second half lasting one hour and 15 minutes.

This specific version of the opera also utilized an electronic black screen in several scenes. The screen, used for Pamino’s school’s blackboard and transformed into the Queen of the Night’s room, animated The Magic Flute and modernized the classic.

For those expecting a simple tale about a young boy who comes across an enchanting musical instrument, those expectations will be surpassed.

The Opera di Firenze will host The Magic Flute from March 24th through the 29th. Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased on the opera house’s website: http://www.operadifirenze.it/events/die-zauberflote/

The Experience:

My experience seeing The Magic Flute was more than just an average night at the opera. In covering the performance, I was generously granted the opportunity to take part in the Opera di Firenze’s #neverlandOF campaign. Through this program, I helped involve opera-lovers across the world via live tweeting and instagramming of the show on social media platforms.

An hour prior to the opening of the stage curtains, approximately ten other bloggers and I had the privilege to speak with actors Goran Jurić (Sarastro) and Juan Francisco Gatell (Tamino).

Jurić and Gatell discussed with us the importance of the opera as an artistic work, cultural spectacle, and personal experience. The actors also revealed what they believe their characters in the story represent and embody.

During intermission, I was able to explore the set of The Magic Flute under the guidance of an opera house employee. She encouraged us and members of society to continue coming out to the opera to appreciate the shows.

Watching, tweeting, and instagramming the German opera in both Italian and English as an American journalist in Florence was a global experience to say the least.

To check out my tweets about The Magic Flute and to learn more about the #neverlandOF campaign, check out the hashtag and the Twitter accounts of both myself (@lizbrownkaiser) and the Opera di Firenze (@maggiomusicale).

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