The Met: Live in HD Die Zauberflöte Review – A Magical Experience

Soprano Golda Schultz, Pamina (front) and Bass René Pape as Sarastro, PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Termine

The Met: Live in HD 2017-18 season is well underway.  Fathom Events and the Metropolitan Opera Partner to Bring 10 Live Transmissions, of which eight are now available. These opportunities are very special so don’t let them slip away. “The Met: Live in HD allows audiences around the country to experience the magic of the opera and the best-of-the-best in operatic talent from around the world,” Fathom Events VP of Programming Kymberli Frueh said. “There is nothing quite like seeing a beautiful opera performed live on stage at the renowned Metropolitan Opera. Our long-standing partnership with the Met continues to draw hundreds of thousands of fans, and we are thrilled to help bring these incredible productions to the big screen.”

The Julie Taymor puppets and Tenor Charles Castronovo as Tamino, PHOTO CREDIT:Richard Termine

The opportunity to view opera on the big screen makes opera “up close and personal”, an is easily accessible to large numbers of people.  It is a wonderful experience for opera buffs and for opera newbies, and a great way for young and old to experience the power of opera. One aspect of the film compared to going to a liver performance is the way audiences can go behind the scenes with the leading artists that make the Met one of the most renowned opera houses in the world. The backstage access that includes special interviews with cast and crew and other features exclusive to the Live in HD series are fascinating and enhance the opera experience.

Golda Schultz as Pamina and Markus Werba as Papageno, PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

My good friend, an opera buff, had never attended The Met: Live in HD.  She loves, “The Magic Flute” and I was curious about the way in which this Met performance contrasted to a recent production I had seen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, so we went to see it. This opera is wonderful with a magical story, gorgeous music, humor, and a happy ending. The holiday presentation of The Magic Flute, an abridged staging sung in English for families, was the first Live in HD performance to be transmitted twelve years ago. This is the first time the full-length German opera will be seen in the series. Be sure to see this opera if it returns as part of the summer encore series.

Tenor Charles Castronovo as Tamino

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. This was Motzart’s last opera. The opera is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue. It premiered on 30 September 1791 at Schikaneder’s theatre, the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna, and was well received from the beginning. This was only two months before the composer’s premature death.

Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night and Golda Schultz as Pamina, PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

The basic story is that: “The Queen of the Night persuades Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from captivity under the high priest Sarastro; instead, he learns the high ideals of Sarastro’s community and seeks to join it. Separately, then together, Tamino and Pamina undergo severe trials of initiation, which end in triumph, with the Queen and her cohorts vanquished. The earthy Papageno, who accompanies Tamino on his quest, fails the trials completely but is rewarded anyway with the hand of his ideal female companion Papagena”. (Wikipedia)

 

It was a delight to see the charming Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducting Tony Award®–winner Julie Taymor’s production of Mozart’s masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte. The production was absolutely magical, the most magical production I have seen, with the giant puppets, and amazing costumes and sets.

Christian Van Horn as Sprecher and Markus Werba as Popageno, PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

Soprano Golda Schultz making her highly anticipated Met debut as Pamina, is captivating and her voice is gorgeous. Tenor Charles Castronovo as Tamino was just what a fairy tale prince should be. Kathryn Lewek is the Queen of the Night and as she explained when interviewed, her role is only 12 minutes but it is a significant and coveted role. She did not disappoint. Christian Van Horn as Sprecher was convincingly evil, while René Pape, with his remarkably deep voice, was Sarastro and a very convincing, “good guy”. But it was, Markus Werba as the bird-catching Papageno, that completely charmed me.  The big screen allowed for the audience to see facial expressions in close shots and his graceful movements in more encompassing shots.  He was especially delightful moving with the large birds.  There were also three young boys (muses) who enhanced the production greatly.  Walking out, I felt like I had been in a different place.

Golda Schltz and Markus Werba; PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

Tickets for The Met: Live in HD 2017-18 season can be purchased online by visiting the FathomEvants website or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 650 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Photos: Courtesy of The Met: Live in HD

 

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