Santa Fe Opera: The Magic Flute

We went on Tuesday to see the Santa Fe Opera's production of The Magic Flute which was very very nice. It was a special for kids so there were lots of young ladies in tiaras and various other groups (Big Brothers supposedly had a nice tail gate party before the opera got going).

It was the first Opera I have been physically to having grown up listening to the weekly Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts :). While this was billed as the final dress rehearsal, it still came across smashingly. I can see why the part of Queen of the Night is so demanding.. the famous aria where she is asking Pamina to kill Sarastro was breath-taking. The children found that Joshua Hopkins performance as Papageno was hilarious and while Charles Castronovo's Tamino was very strong, I heard many girls wonder if Papageno and Pamina were going to get together due to their time together in Act I. [Actually I think it had to do with the clothing choices for Pamina, but more on that later.]

The set design was really well done, it was a minimalist design which works well with the outdoor Santa Fe opera, and the kids were ooohing at how the set would have hidden doors in the walls, and would completely transform into the prison of Act II. For the most part, the children seemed enthralled except for the part of Act II where Tamino and Pamina join together to go through the trials of Fire and Water. Here the set was way too minimal using only color and the children were all quite fidgety around us as the two actors really tried to show they were undergoing great threats.. I think having some items appear out of the hidden doors looking like fire and waves would have made it a bit more real to them.

The costume design was interesting. The Queen of the Night and her ladies in waiting were very well done Elizabethan clothing. The court and followers of Sarastro were a more fitting 18th century Enlightened which fits their role. Sarastro's 'baddies' were goose-stepping uniformed thugs which the kids and audience immediately caught on. Papageno and Papagena were wearing more 20th century cloths that showed the more 'rural' nature that they were supposed to represent. Tamino wore an 18th century armour in the beginning which worked as he is sort of transformed from the Queen's court to Sarasotro's over time. However Pamina's costume had many of us guessing. It was more of a 1950's bobby sox and fit more with Papageno's clothing than anyone else on the stage. I believe it was what caused the confusion of some in the audience during intermission. [Actually that would be an interesting twisted opera rewrite... where Pamina ends up with Papageno and Papagena marries Tamino. However I believe that would be more like Gilbert and Sullivan.]

I wanted to say that the performances of Ekaterina Siurina, Andrea Silvestrelli, and all the others I have not mentioned were really good. I do not know if it is still fitting, but on the curtain call I really wanted to throw roses at the stage (though I would have missed and probably taken some poor violists eye.) The orchestra was splendid, and I hope to see them later in the season.

Anyway my non computer related post of the month.

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