I went to see Die Zauberflöte at the Komische Oper Berlin as directed by Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky and I wrote about it for Bachtrack.
Die Zauberflöte is a work whose
outward simplicity masks internal complexity and even contradictions.
Mozart’s music is childishly tuneful and yet reaches for the classically
sublime; Emmanuel Schikaneder’s libretto alternates a magical quest
story out of a German storybook with Masonic claptrap and secondhand
Voltaire. For a children’s opera, its message occasionally goes off the
rails; for Enlightenment philosophy it seems silly (and its treatment of
race and gender hardly progressive). Contemporary stage directors
approaching this piece have many options, as well as challenges.
You can read the whole thing here. It’s a delightful production, colorful enough for kids and sophisticated enough for adults. This is the second Weimar cinema-inspired production I’ve seen, the first being the more chronologically appropriate Cardillac at the Wiener Staatsoper. This Zauberflöte was less literal and far prettier.
I don’t know how the video and musical sides were coordinated or cued. The situation varies here–the Met made a big deal about how the videos of their Damnation de Faust responded to the music rather than the other way around, while I saw a L’enfant et les sortilèges in Munich with some severe coordination problems. In Berlin, everything seemed to function smoothly, but I don’t know to what extent the timing of the video was fixed and to what extent it was being triggered on the spot. It’s amazing to think of how far this technology has advanced in just a few years.
I’ve heard better singing at the Komische Oper, but everyone was perfectly competent. Highly recommended if you’re in Berlin.
All photos copyright Iko Fresse / drama-berlin.de