– Are you afraid, Papageno?
– No, I’m not afraid at all. Just ice cold from the shivers in my spine.DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE
There are wonderful tales that are meant to be heard by children and adults alike: for the former, those tales help them grow up, for the latter, those tales can teach them to live. Such is the case with Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Mozart’s testamentary opera, completed a few weeks before his death.
Having escaped from the clutches of a giant serpent, Prince Tamino is given a magic flute by three attendant ladies of the Queen of the Night. With his companion, the bird catcher Papageno, he sets out in search of Princess Pamina, who is being held captive by the High Priest Sarastro with his mysterious rites of passage. But appearances can be deceptive and our intrepid adventurers will have to learn to distinguish good from evil, darkness from light, and the sun from the night.
How can we breathe the magic of opera into our daily lives? How can we surprise an audience that has already lived half of their lives? For the Austrian director Anna Bernreitner, breaking down barriers is nothing new: as the head of the artistic collective OPER RUND UM, she has staged performances in places as disparate as a pub, a swimming pool, a tropical greenhouse, and a supermarket. In Mozart’s fabulous initiatory opera, fear was the white rabbit: morbid fear, childish fears, fear which leaders weaponize in order to control their citizens, fear of silence, fear of death, fear of fire which has to be tamed in order to become the author of one’s own history.
An heir of the Enlightenment, Mozart dreamt of composing a work that could appeal to scholars and the masses alike: just like the flute with the power to charm the animals in the forest. From the electrifying overture to the final note as the curtain falls, his music chases after his goal: to set the Earth on a par with Heaven and humans equal to the gods. It is a goal he manages to attain: during the final chorus, the composer succeeds in creating a musical utopia. As such, The Magic Flute bursts forth through the night and 230 years later, it continues to light up our world.
Die Zauberflöte, opera in two acts
First performed at Theater auf der Wieden in Vienne on September 30, 1791
New production Opéra national de Lorraine
Coproduction Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra national de Lorraine
Hannah Oellinger, Manfred Rainer
professors from the Conservatoire of Nancy
Gala El Hadidi
Benjamin Gegout, Pauline Greco, Nalia Girodon (Young singers from the Conservatoire of Nancy)
Ill Ju Lee
Benoît Andrieux, Virginie Benoist, Antonin Cloteau, Anna Moriot, Pauline Zaia