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December 30, 2006

Die Zauberflöte

And the title is about as far as the Monk dares to go without Mausi's advice on the grammar! Last night we visited the Opera, and, yes, it was the Magic Flute. And yes, it was in German and not English. That said it was a very good production indeed, Papagino and Papagena were top notch and Tamino and Pamina likewise, although Papagino did have the better presence on stage.

The scenery and setting of the opera was interesting, but the overall impression was terrific. The casting of Zarastra, the King of the Night, and his priests was interesting as were their costumes - white robes rather reminiscent of the robes of the Reformation period Theologians - representing the "Eskimos" around whom the story rotates, and some of the scene shifting was done by young boys and girls who are apparently drawn from theatre school in Wiesbaden and Mainz. Three boys who played an important linking role with the star crossed and bewitched lovers (both pairs!) sang beautifully and did their parts extremely well. They were drawn from the Mainz Dom Cathedral choir - a major change of role from their norm, but one they obviously enjoyed immensely!

Probably leaving the best to last, the Queen of the Night, a diminutive Asian lady, sang her part fantastically. She was, as you would expect ably supported by the "savage" slaves - well out of place in the Arctic in grass skirts and Tropical style dress - and her Hand Maidens. Again, the costumes were amazingly exotic, yet fitted well with this Baroque romp.

The Staats Theater, Wiesbaden, is a small and classic opera house, with semi-circular galleries and boxes above the main tiered floor. Internal decoration is best described as a riot of neo-Baroque, the theater having been built under the patronage of Kaiser Wilhelm II in the 1890's. The Grand Foyer boasts the Muses, the Graces, dozens of Cherubs and gilding all drawn together above the grand staircase by the Imperial Eagle.

All in all, a fun evening, at a fun show and in great company. Who cares I only understood about a third of the dialogue - I have a fair idea of the story and its the music that really counts!

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 30, 2006 05:44 PM

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