• Five Things to Know about The Magic Flute

    By COC Staff

    A signature COC production, Mozart’s The Magic Flute transports audiences to another world, filled with fantastical creatures, imaginative costumes, starry skies, and garden mazes. Revival director Ashlie Corcoran returns to deliver Diane Paulus’ celebrated take on this whimsical Mozart comedy. Read on to learn more!

    Photo: Michael Cooper

    A classic from a legendary composer

    Mozart’s prolific and tragically brief musical career capped off with his final opera, The Magic Flute, premiering just two months before his passing. Composing more than 600 works throughout the Classical period (roughly 1750-1820), Mozart’s finale speaks to the greater concerns of the period, in which composers were interested in expanding the dramatic palette of music while simultaneously embracing simpler melodies that were written in evenly structured phrases, making them catchier and more memorable. This strategy would pay off for Flute, which celebrated its 100th performance just over a year after its premiere, and today stands as Mozart’s most frequently performed opera.

    Photo: Michael Cooper

    A fairytale opera rooted in the real world

    The plot of Flute concerns a noble prince, Tamino, who is ordered by the mysterious Queen of the Night to rescue a beautiful kidnapped princess, Pamina. With the aid of his comic sidekick—the bird catcher Papageno—and the help of a magic flute, Tamino sets off on an epic quest through the trials and tribulations of love. Within this fantastical story, Mozart explores the emerging ideas of the Enlightenment period—an intellectual attitude that placed reason at the centre of human potential—evidenced in the names of the temples Tamino must enter: Wisdom, Reason, and Nature. The composer’s own fascination with the rituals of Freemasonry weigh into the work, too, influenced by both Mozart and librettist Emanuel Shikaneder’s membership in the same Masonic lodge. 

    Photo: Michael Cooper

    An A-list creative team

    Premiering at the COC in 2011, this production of Flute was created by the team of Tony Award-winning Broadway director Diane Paulus with set and costume designer Myung Hee Cho. “We wanted to capture the fairy tale aspect,” Paulus said, “but also bring out the deeper meanings of enlightenment, ritual, Masonic architecture, and the structure and enigma that are hidden inside.” As part of their approach, Paulus created a play-within-a-play structure, acted out on a charming stage within the stage. Combined with the intentionally low-tech creature designs, the creative team offers audiences the experience of stumbling upon the scenes whimsically played out in a garden.

    Photo: Michael Cooper

    A showcase of exceptional opera talent

    Flute features many current and former members of the COC Ensemble Studio, our innovative artist development program for emerging Canadian opera professionals. Starring as Princess Pamina, alumni Anna-Sophie Neher returns alongside fellow alum Gordon Bintner as Papageno. Current Ensemble Studio artists Midori Marsh, Jamie Groote, Charlotte Siegel, Matthew Cairns, Jonah Spungin, and Vartan Gabrielian all sing roles in the production as well, alongside established opera stars like Ilker Arcayürek, Caroline Wettergreen, and Russell Braun.

    Photo: Michael Cooper

    A celebrated fan favourite

    Our third staging of Diane Paulus’ Flute since its premiere in 2011, the show returns to the stage to much critical acclaim. Reviewing its last appearance in 2017, The Star’s Catherine Kustanczy noted the production “uses an eye-catching combination of whimsical designs and clever blocking to create a frothy, fun atmosphere that makes the most of the piece’s fantastical elements.” Speaking to the opera’s approachability, Stage Door’s Christopher Hoile said “with singing and acting of such a high level, this production should be a fine introduction for those new to opera and an excellent reminder of the playfulness of Mozart’s genius for those who already know the opera well.”

    Join us for a trip to the whimsical world of Mozart’s The Magic Flute! Tickets for the show, as well as our other 21/22 operas, are now on sale.
    Posted in A Season Like No Other


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