Rehearsals for our upcoming production of The Magic Flute began this week, and on Wednesday everyone at the COC was invited to attend the concept discussion. The discussion was led by set and costume designer Myung Hee Cho and associate director Andrew Eggert, and many of the set pieces and props were on display. In front of the stage-within-a-stage that we've seen in the maquettes, as well as some giant green hedges and candelabras that will also feature in the production, they talked us through their vision for Mozart's final opera.
The production will emphasize the opera's theatricality, and delight in references to the stagecraft of Mozart's era. Rather than employing modern technologically-driven special effects for things like storms, fire, and dancing animals, the creative team considered how 18th-century directors and designers would have represented them. Thunder sheets, painted roll drops that rise and fall with visible assistance from crew members, lighting by candlelight and mirrors—all these things will be in evidence.
The concept will present The Magic Flute as performed in a garden for a an 18th-century family's entertainment (and with the participation of the household), a play within a play that heightens the theatricality of the opera while blurring the lines between the performance and "real life." Our Study Guide (PDF) contains a detailed discussion of the concept and how it unfolds over the course of the opera.
In the photo below, you can see Myung Hee Cho (left) and Andrew Eggert (right) standing in front of the stage that, in Act I, is the most prominent set piece. Notice the gears at the top: they are part of the roll-drop mechanism, which we got to see in action as the discussion progressed.
Act II takes place in the garden of the house, and in a choice that reflects both the 18th-century setting and the emotional journeys of Pamina and Tamino, the garden is a labyrinth built with hedges. The set will incorporate several very tall hedge set pieces (seen in the background in the photos above, and alone in the photo below) that periodically change position to reflect scene changes and progress through the labyrinth.
Compare to the maquette:
This production promises to both take us back in time, and help us see The Magic Flute with fresh eyes.
Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001