‘Magic Flute’ Evaluation: Trickery and Enjoyment of Mozart on the Met

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By Stacy Connor


On the floor, their sources are humble, even plain. The ladies put on black slips, fight boots and mangy fur coats; the lads, grey fits and conservatively huge ties. The principle stage ingredient is a big, rectangular platform that may be suspended at numerous angles from cables hooked up to its corners.

On either side of this naked setting is an artist whose results are amplified with using audio system and live-video projections. At stage proper, the visible artist Blake Habermann, armed primarily with a chalkboard, held the viewers rapt with line drawings that have been projected in actual time onto the scrim. He advised the enormity of Sarastro’s temple of knowledge with a stack of leather-bound books. The Foley artist Ruth Sullivan parked herself at stage left with a cupboard of curiosities that she used ingeniously so as to add sound results to the stage motion.

“Die Zauberflöte” is, at the very least partly, a parable of what people are able to — of what they’ll obtain once they look inside themselves. McBurney’s apparent delight within the on a regular basis feats of the present’s sprawling assemblage of artists, singers and actors (who trailed Papageno waving paper birds) expands an concept that already exists within the piece itself. His constancy to the present’s spirit mollified the jolt of his occasional departures, as when he spliced some dialogue into Papageno’s entrance aria.

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McBurney did some rethinking too — particularly, across the opera’s battle of the sexes, whereby enlightened males shake their heads on the folly and frivolity of girls. In Mozart and Schikaneder’s singspiel, ladies lurk in the dead of night, wild outskirts past the gates of Sarastro’s shining, orderly sanctum. Stagings typically settle for this binary as a truism of the piece; audiences chuckle at jokes written at ladies’s expense.

It’s one of many achievements of McBurney’s staging that he defanged this dichotomy — I heard no discernible laughter on the e book’s misogynistic quips — by satirizing the lads’s smugness. The Three Women (Alexandria Shiner, Olivia Vote, Tamara Mumford), with their voluptuous harmonies and gleeful immodesty — they strip Tamino of his tracksuit and take a deep, sexy whiff of it — have been a great deal of enjoyable. Sarastro’s temple, with its unflattering overhead tube lighting, was populated by cold company shills. The Speaker, Tamino’s information by the opera’s Masonic trials of character, morphed right into a complacent, amusingly strait-laced factotum (Harold Wilson).



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