Focus on: The Magic Flute

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The Magic Flute
“One of the greatest and most popular operas ever written”

English National Opera website

“A sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism”
New York Met Opera website

“The opera that has it all – drama, comedy, magic, good conquering evil and of course, the most sublime music” 
New Zealand Opera website

Starring a young cast of outstanding singers from CTO and the University of Cape Town Opera School, the latest Cape Town Opera production of The Magic Flute is directed by the formidably talented Matthew Wild, who has a growing reputation for audacious visual spectacle and refined character development.

”Mozart combines child-like simplicity with astonishing sophistication in a way that no other composer can approach,” says Wild.  And the fact that The Magic Flute was conceived as an elaborate scenic spectacle is a challenge which Wild has approached with characteristic relish, creating a production designed to “pose questions about the power of music in our lives today”.


Wild’s answer to the potentially tricky “magical transformations” within the story is to stage it “as the dream of a young music student, with lots of surreal and surprising intrusions into his bedroom.”

Audiences can expect circus acrobats, vivid dream imagery, mythological winged creatures and futuristic robots, and no doubt – given Wild’s involvement – a healthy dose of humour.

There is also the magnificent score to look forward to, including one of the most famous moments in opera, in which The Queen of the Night pushes the human voice to breaking point with dizzyingly high notes in the celebrated aria, ‘Der Holle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen‘ (Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart).

The Magic Flute
So what advice would Wild give to those thinking of coming to the show?
“The Magic Flute is a great opera for home listening, and I’d recommend getting to know some of the music before you come to watch the show. The recordings conducted by Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, William Christie and Arnold Östman are the ones I could never do without, and any one of them will be a perfect introduction for a newcomer to the music. The Ingmar Bergman film is a classic – but there’s also a high-tech film version from 2006 directed by Kenneth Branagh, and set in World War 1, which offers a very different view of the piece for curious viewers!”

The Magic Flute runs for just six performances at the Artscape Theatre, from 23 November to 10 December, and tickets are selling fast.

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