OPERA: Mozart’s The Magic Flute Revisited in a Multimedia Production at the English National Opera

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is the Mona Lisa of Opera. Extremely popular without loosing a penny in quality and originality. It returns to the London Coliseum for its first revival. The outstanding cast will be led by ENO Music Director Mark Wigglesworth and directed by Simon McBurney.

The Magic Flute explores the search for true love and enlightenment as the royal prince Tamino and the bird-catcher Papageno find themselves caught in the middle of a mighty battle between Sarastro, the leader of a priestly community, and the manipulative Queen of Night. As Wigglesworth says:

“Since its premiere in a small suburban theatre in Vienna in 1791, The Magic Flute has become one of the most performed operas of all time. But despite its huge popularity, it remains difficult to define. We live in an age that likes to categorise its cultural experiences, yet it is hard to say whether this piece is comic or serious, simple or profound, innocent or experienced. Mozart is all these things of course, but his real genius is that he can be all these things exactly at the same moment. He persuades us that in the end these apparent opposites are not contradictions at all. Maybe this is why The Magic Flute, like most fairy tales, can speak to all of us, always.”

ENO The Magic Flute - Allan Clayton, Lucy Crowe (c) Robbie Jack
ENO The Magic Flute – Allan Clayton, Lucy Crowe (c) Robbie Jack

McBurney’s wonderfully theatrical and imaginative staging is given a contemporary setting, in which live sound effects and breathtaking animations bring this captivating tale to life. A huge hit with audiences, there was standing room only for several performances of the 2013 run of shows. The Daily Express described the production as “wonderfully original” with “so many good and surprising things … that it is difficult to know where to start”.

Actor, writer, co-founder and Artistic Director of theatre company Complicite, Simon McBurney is recognised as one of the most important theatrical creators in the world today. McBurney is known to many through his acting roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, as Archdeacon Robert in the BBC TV comedy series Rev and as Atlee in 2015’s Mission: Impossible. His ENO production of A Dog’s Heart (2010) was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. His one-man show The Encounter received exceptional reviews at the Edinburgh International Festival last summer.

The unforgettable story-telling is matched by music-making of the very highest level. ENO Music Director Mark Wigglesworth conducts the ENO Orchestra, who will be raised out of the pit and placed centre stage for the performances.

The world-class roster of ENO regulars are led by British soprano Lucy Crowe as Pamina. Especially noted for her performances of Baroque and Classical repertory, her performance in Peter Sellars’s production of The Indian Queen (February 2015) was pure beauty beyond belief. Crowe raises to the challenge with an outstanding performance.

British tenor and former ENO Harewood Artist Allan Clayton sings the role of Tamino.

Australian baritone Peter Coleman-Wright will sing Papageno. He has performed with leading opera companies all around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Paris Opéra, La Scala and in a variety of roles for ENO. Coleman-Wright manages the role of the clown who always says the wisest thoughts.

Young Canadian soprano Ambur Braid makes her UK debut as the calculating Queen of Night. Braid is a thrill to watch.

Collaborating with McBurney are costume designer Nicky Gillibrand, lighting designer Jean Kalman, sound designer Gareth Fry and choreographer Josie Daxter. Set designer Michael Levine and video designer Finn Ross complete this exceptional creative team.

ENO The Magic Flute - Soraya Mafi, Peter Coleman-Wright, Company (c) Robbie Jack
ENO The Magic Flute – Soraya Mafi, Peter Coleman-Wright, Company (c) Robbie Jack

The Magic Flute opens at the London Coliseum on 5 February 2016 for 13 performances – Feb 5, 11, 13, 16, 19, 25, 26 & Mar 3, 9, 14, 16 at 7.30pm, Mar 5 at 6.30pm, Mar 19 at 3pm
Opera Undressed performances of The Magic Flute will take place on 11 and 25 February.

For more information, please visit ENO website https://www.eno.org/whats-on/15-16/the-magic-flute

About Lorenzo Belenguer

Artist, writer and curator based in London and Valencia. Belenguer has collaborated with The Guardian, The Independent and many other specialised Art Magazines such Sluice, Artlyst and FAD. Belenguer's art is strongly influenced by Minimalism. He exhibited and performed at The Serpentine Galleries, TATE Modern and the 56th Venice Biennale.