Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute
Sung in English with projected English text
January 30, 2015 - 7:30 PM | February 1, 2015 - 2:00 PM | February 4, 2015 - 7:30 PM
February 7, 2015 - 7:30 PM | February 14, 2015 - 7:30 PM
Mozart's genius is supremely evident in his last opera, The Magic Flute. The fairytale is matched with some of the most stunningly beautiful music ever written. From the coloratura pyrotechnics of the Queen of the Night to Pamina's anguished lament, to the comic love duet of Papageno and Papagena, the music illustrates what set Mozart apart from his many rivals: a unique and profound understanding of humanity.
Visually, this Flute finds a perfect balance between grandeur and comedy. Replete with elaborately detailed period costumes, Egyptian influences, and dancing bears, it is a feast for the eyes and the ear.
Tamino - David Portillo
Pamina - Nicole Heaston
Queen of the Night - Kathryn Lewek
Sarastro - Morris Robinson
Speaker - Patrick Carfizzi
Papageno - Michael Sumuel
Monostatos/Man in Armor - Aaron Pegram
Third Lady - Renee Tatum
Conductor - Robert Spano
Production - Nicholas Hytner
Director - Ian Rutherford
Set & Costume Designer - Bob Crowley
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Chorus Master - Richard Bado
"Kathryn Lewek has a luscious sound, especially in her unforced upper range... she dispatched the darting runs and passage work with agile technique." - New York Times
"David Portillo, scored high marks and high notes with ease, singing with a luxuriant warm glow that seduced the ear." - Opera News
This production was originally created by the English National Opera.
Tamino, a prince, faints as he is attacked by a serpent that
Three Ladies, servants of the Queen of the Night, destroy. They
cannot agree on who should stay to watch over the young man, so
they all go off to tell their Queen about him. He revives and sees
Papageno, the Queen's birdcatcher, who claims to have killed the
serpent himself. The Ladies punish Papageno for this lie by
padlocking his mouth; they then give Tamino a portrait of Pamina,
the Queen's daughter, with whom Tamino falls in love.
The Queen promises Tamino that Pamina will be his if he will
rescue her from Sarastro, the Queen's enemy, who has kidnapped her.
Papageno will accompany him, and they will have a magic flute and
magic bells to help them, and Three Spirits to guide them.
ln Sarastro's realm, Monostatos assaults Pamina. Papageno (who
has been separated from Tamino) unexpectedly appears and frightens
him off. He comforts Pamina and they escape.
The Three Spirits lead Tamino to Sarastro's temple of nature,
reason, and wisdom. Tamino approaches each door in turn and voices
order him back from the first two; from the third the Speaker
enters and tells him he has been deceived in thinking that Sarastro
is evil. He leaves Tamino to consider this reversal of his
Tamino discovers that the magic flute can tame the wild animals
in the forest. Papageno answers his call but they just miss each
other; Papageno and Pamina enter, pursued by Monostatos. Papageno
plays his magic bells and so they avoid being captured. Sarastro
returns with his followers from hunting; Pamina tells him the whole
truth of what has happened to her. Tamino is brought in by
Sarastro's men, and sees Pamina for the first time. Sarastro orders
Monostatos to be punished and invites Tamino and Papageno to prove
themselves worthy by undergoing the trials of initiation into the
community of Isis.
Sarastro explains his purpose in introducing Tamino and Papageno
to the mysteries of Isis. His fellow initiates overcome their
misgivings and take the men blindfolded into the vaults of the
temple. The first trial is to be silent in a darkened room. When
the Three Ladies attempt to distract them and win them back to the
Queen's cause, the men ignore them.
Monostatos has another opportunity to violate Pamina and this
time it is the Queen who intervenes to defend her. She gives her
daughter a dagger with instructions to kill Sarastro and recover
the sign of the sun from him. Monostatos has overheard and now
threatens to betray Pamina if she does not yield to him. Pamina,
distraught, confesses everything to Sarastro, who assures her that
he has no thought of revenge on her mother.
Tamino and Papageno begin a second trial of silence, the
contemplation of mortality. Papageno cheats by chatting to an old
lady who says she is his girlfriend. The Three Spirits bring food
and drink, and return the magic instruments to assist them. At the
sound of Tamino's flute, Pamina appears and cannot understand why
he rejects her in silence. She concludes that he no longer loves
Sarastro congratulates Tamino on his strength of will but tells
him that, after one last meeting, he may never see Pamina again.
The lovers greet each other joyfully but sadly part. Papageno also
meets the old woman again, and discovers that she is really a
perfect young wife for him; to his annoyance an initiate insists
that he, like Tamino, should continue the trials alone.
Pamina, now inconsolable, contemplates suicide. The Spirits
prevent her, however, and reunite her with Tamino, who has reached
the final trial: the ordeals of fire and water. Pamina is allowed
to join him and together they brave the dangers, guarded by the
music of the flute and strengthened by their love for one another.
They are both welcomed into the temple.
It is Papageno's turn to contemplate suicide. The Spirits remind
him of his magic bells, and as he plays them Papagena appears
again. The Queen, Monostatos, and the Three Ladies plan a final
assault on Sarastro's temple. They are destroyed by the vision of a
family united in wisdom and selfless love.
This story by director Ian Rutherford explains the events that
could have set the stage for the events of The Magic
Flute. To read, click here.