Vancouver Opera’s The Magic Flute


Vancouver Opera's The Magic Flute
Vancouver Opera’s The Magic Flute

On Sunday, March 10, 2013, I attended at matinee performance by the Vancouver Opera at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

I arrived 10 min. late for the pre-talk in the mezzanine, so unfortunately, only picked up a few details such as, the opera was infused with Coast Salish elements and how the Vancouver Opera consulted First Nations experts for everything from costume design to how to pronounce names or words in their native language.

For example, aboriginal names were given to the characters (on top of the ones given by Mozart).

As the time approached for the start of the opera, I noticed many families with young children attending the opera.  I was nervous about that because the running time of the show was nearly 3.5 hrs with a short intermission.

The opera opened with a video montage of Vancouver while the orchestra, directed by Leslie Dala, played the overture.  The video progressed to scenes of the forest and nature, and then the opera began.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the liberetto had been adapted into English. Some would say that instead of saying this was Mozart’s Magic Flute, it should have been titled “An adaptation of Mozart’s Magic Flute”.  Also, this type of opera is called singspiel in which singing is intermixed with speaking.

The good:

-this was easy for the younger audience to understand, since it was in English, with English subtitles

-the costumes, especially that of the Queen of the Night, was incredibly sumptuous and fantastic – just like the coloratura soprano’s voice

-the staging and design was ingenious.  The set was easily adapted to become like a forest, or a cold, dark questing ground

The bad:

-the time change (Spring forward!) on Sunday morning meant that everyone lost an hour of sleep.  That, combined with a darkened theatre, soothing singing and quiet orchestral music meant very long lineups at the coffee bar during intermission

-Papagano, the bird catcher in the story, stood out at the most interesting character.  The singers who portrayed Tamino and Tamina sang beautifully, but they were not as memorable.

Get OUT to see an Opera at Vancouver Opera!  They have discount codes that appear on their blog usually a few weeks before the opening of their operas, which means that if you are 35 years and under, you get to see the opera for only $30.00! (compared to up to $190.00 per seat!)  Click here for their blog.

 

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