Opéra Bastille - from 12 January to 22 February 2021
3h05 with 1 interval
Language : German
Surtitle : French / English
In few words:
A children’s tale for some and a profound meditation on life and death for others, Mozart’s last opera is a dazzling extravaganza that takes the form of an initiatory tale. The protagonists include a prince from a far-off land in search of a slightly suicidal princess, a giant snake, a boastful bird catcher, the Queen of the Night and a mysterious High Priest who prescribes strange rites of passage… Consonant with German comic-opera and enriched by the philosophy of the Enlightenment, Die Zauberflöte touches on the major themes of the 18th century: education, morality, religion, culture, and nature.
In an elegant production of unspoilt simplicity, director Robert Carsen leads us through the four seasons and invting us to reflect on life as Death becomes our reassuring and consoling “best friend”.
Tamino is threatened by an enormous snake and falls unconscious. Three ladies appear and kill the snake. They discover the handsome young man and leave to inform the Queen of the Night. Tamino wakes up and meets Papageno, the Queen of the Night’s bird-catcher. When Papageno accepts credit for having killed the snake, the three ladies reappear and lock his mouth to punish him for lying. They show Tamino a picture of the Queen’s daughter Pamina, and he immediately falls in love with her. The Queen herself appears and begs Tamino to rescue her daughter from Sarastro, who has kidnapped her. The ladies now free Papageno, and give Tamino a magic flute and Papageno a set of magic bells to protect them, telling them that three boys will guide them on their journey. Within Sarastro’s walls, Monostatos is attempting to rape Pamina, but runs away when he is frightened by Papageno. The bird-catcher tells Pamina that Tamino has fallen in love with her and that they have come to her rescue. Pamina rejoices. She and Papageno both dream of finding someone to love. The three boys guide Tamino to Sarastro’s temple. A priest appears and warns Tamino that things may not be as they seem. Unknown voices inform Tamino that Pamina is still alive. Overjoyed, Tamino plays the magic flute and, hearing Papageno calling him, leaves in search of the latter and Pamina. It is Monostatos and his followers however who soon find them. As they are about to arrest them, Papageno plays his magic bells which render the attackers harmless. Sarastro appears and tells Pamina she is free to choose whom she will love, but not yet free to leave his realm. Monostatos drags in Tamino and demands a reward, but is punished instead. As Tamino and Pamina acknowledge their love, Sarastro orders the priests to take Tamino and Papageno into the temple for purification.
The trials commence. The priests swear Tamino and Papageno to silence, which both prove able to maintain to varying degrees. Tamino even rejects the charms of the three ladies and successfully passes his first challenge. The Queen of the Night appears, instructing her daughter Pamina to kill Sarastro. Pamina resists. The three boys help Tamino and Papageno to pass the next challenge: Tamino, who has been ordered to stay silent, meets Pamina. She feels rejected by his refusal to speak to her. Sarastro praises Tamino for his steadfastness and summons the two lovers. But Pamina is in despair. The three boys come to the rescue and talk her out of killing herself, and now she wants to undergo the remaining challenges together with Tamino. Protected by their love for each other, they pass trials by water and by fire. Papageno eagerly awaits his reunion with Papagena, whom he has been allowed to meet despite his poor performance in the trials. Separated from her once again, he too contemplates suicide, only to be stopped by the three boys. His magic bells spirit Papagena into his company. Monastatos joins forces with the Queen of the Night and the three ladies. Together they launch one final attempt to test Pamina’s and Tamino’s love. At that moment Sarastro and the priests appear on the scene to announce the beginning of a new dawn and to welcome the newcomers amongst the initiated.