The Magic Flute an ideal introduction to opera

Metropolitan Opera performance on the Salmar Classic’s large screen at 9:55 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14.

Metropolitan Opera performers will be singing to a Salmon Arm audience on the Salmar Classic’s large screen at 9:55 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.

Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute) is a sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism in a land between the sun and the moon.

It was written with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a Singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity.

This is an excellent structure for navigating the story and score with its diverse moods ranging from solemn to light hearted.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) died prematurely three months after the premiere of Die Zauberfloete. It was his last produced work for the stage. The remarkable Emanuel Schikaneder (1751 – 1812) was an actor, singer, theater manager, and friend of Mozart. He suggested the idea of Die Zauberfloete, wrote the libretto, staged the work, sang the role of Papageno in the initial run and even recruited his three young sons to join the roster.

The composer and the librettist were both Freemasons and Masonic imagery is used throughout the work. Freemasons are a fraternal order whose membership is held together by shared moral and metaphysical ideals. However, the story of The Magic Flute is as universal as any fairy tale.

The libretto specifies Egypt as the location of the action since Egypt was traditionally regarded as the legendary birthplace of the Masonic fraternity whose symbols and rituals populate this opera.

Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducts Mozart’s magical fable. A roster of international Mozartian singers performs in Julie Taymor’s spectacular production, which captures both the opera’s human comedy and its exalted mysticism.

Imagine a prince and princess on a quest, a funny bird catcher who searches for love, a nasty queen with the appropriate high notes, a solemn basso voiced high priest, three ladies to the queen, three young spirits who appear at the right time to direct the action and a stunning chorus.

Mozart’s divine music animates the action and transports the viewer into a magical world via fantastic costumes and sets.

The Magic Flute is one of my favourite works and one I recommend as the ideal introduction to opera for anyone, but especially for children and youth.

Tickets for the opera are available at the Salmar Grand theatre or at the door.