Originally staged in the 18th Century, Die Zauberflöte, is a singspiel, a form of opera that includes singing as well as spoken dialogue to tell its story. In this case a fantasy fable that intertwines, love, revenge, perseverance, ancient wisdoms, with elements of Freemasonry and a healthy helping of humour.
Originally staged by the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, this revival is directed by Ashlie Corcoran, Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company. As the strains of Mozart’s music rise from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, led for the first time by conductor Tania Miller, the curtain reveals a stunning set and a chorus of elaborate costumes by Set and Costume Designer Myung Hee Cho, highlighted by Scott Zielinski‘s lighting design.
The Magic Flute features stand-out female roles, lead by Grammy-Award winning powerhouse soprano Audrey Luna as the vengeful Queen of the Night – returning to the role as her debut at the Metropolitan Opera – and acclaimed Vancouver-native Kirsten MacKinnon as the Queen’s Daughter Pamina joins Ms Luna in making their Vancouver Opera debuts. Both women bring beauty and force to their vocal performances with Luna’s Queen of the Night role punctuating the opera with captivating charisma and Ms MacKinnon bringing the perfect balance of power and light to her confused, lovelorn Pamina.
As the object of Pamina’s affection, Tamino, sworn to silence through much of the production, Owen McCausland, also in his Vancouver Opera debut, makes the most out of his non-verbal acting until his rich vocals are called for. As Papageno, Clarence Frazer‘s clowning and physical comedy provide much of the comic relief throughout the performance, saving it from being too weighted down with the heavy Masonic elements in Emanuel Schikaneder‘s dramatic but erratic libretto which at times veers close to Pantomime.
Throughout the production we meet a cavalcade of brilliantly costumed priests, ladies, spirits, sprites and wildlife, in the ever moving sets; from garden parties, to temples, woodlands and hedgerow mazes. As Vancouver Opera does so well, The Magic Flute provides audiences with a spectacle for the senses.
The Magic Flute plays three more performances; Thursday October 26 at 7:30pm, Saturday October 28 at 7:30pm and Sunday October 29 at 2pm. Find more details and tickets online at vancouveropera.ca.