Sunday, December 13, 2015

Magic Flute for the Whole Family (Except Grumpy Gramma)

Mozart's Magic Flute was given a  Las Vegas magic show production at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 with a stage full of amazing puppetry by Julie Taymor. The photo shows Papageno, the Bird Catcher, who is the comic relief and entirely charming in anybody's production of the opera. I was undecided about going to this simulcast yesterday because I've seen mysterious Magic Flute production, feel I  don't really understand what Mozart was doing with this, his last opera. I know he was expressing his understanding of the Masonic tenets but I'm unclear whether the"war" between the Queen of the Night and Sarastero, a light or sun "god?" is about good and evil or about men triumphing over women.  Those sorts of thoughts and analyses are not pertinent to this production.

Whatever Mozart was saying isn't important because the opera has become a "family" spectacle complete with a new rhymed text that is too close to Mother Goose for Dr. Suess.  The opera has been cut down to under two hours -- fine!  It's a cartoon, a prince and princess have to undergo trials before they can get together and finally the evil queen is "disappeared".  I came away from the theatre thinking that as I grow older I become more and more liberal politically and more and more conservative culturally.  I've seen too many "new" productions of operas and classic dramas tarted up to appeal to today's taste.  I certainly am glad opera now expects the singers to also act (no more "park and bark" static productions!) but a stage full of serpents, birds both flying and dancing en pointe, and various esoteric symbols all thrown together in one witches' cauldron of florescent colors doesn't appeal to me.

1 comment:

Kass said...

Park and bark. I am chuckling. I'm with you on changing opera productions too much.