Last Saturday, I attended my first opera MN Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was envisioning the stereotypical opera with women in big beautiful dresses and a very classic setting. But what I saw instead was a pleasant surprise.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed The Magic Flute and saw its world premiere a few months before his death in 1791. The MN Opera’s production of this classic opera is based in the boundary-busting production my Komische Oper Berlin and the British theater group 1927 and is certainly not how Mozart originally envisioned this piece. Instead, this modernized classic has opened the world of opera to a whole new generation. First produced by MN Opera 18 months ago with box office smashing numbers The Magic Flute is a delight for the senses. A plain white board like set piece is the canvas for this multimedia show. Cartoonish illustrations are projected onto the canvas to depict not only the various scenes, but also to depict what the characters are saying in the style of a silent film. The “hidden windows” are clever. The actors are harnessed to the board and the boards are swiveled as for the actor to make their entrance.
Given this was my first opera it took a while to find my balance between reading the English translation subtitles above the stage and watching the story unfold before me. Eventually, I decided to concentrate on the gorgeous performances and only glance at the subtitles from time to time. This I feel was the best decision for this show in particular as the colorful cartoon-like animations brilliantly contributed to the story being sung in German.
If you are like I was and curious about attending the opera, but aren’t sure you would enjoy it. Or be able to follow along with the singing being in another language. I strongly suggest you dip your toe into the world of opera by seeing MN Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. For me personally, it was the perfect balance of opera and musical theatre. And I have a feeling it may not be my last opera.
For more information on MN Opera’s production of The Magic Flute playing at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts through November 22, visit their website.