The Magic Flute in Joburg

The Magic Flute at the Joburg Theatre on the 18th, 19th, 20th & 24th of May

The Magic Flute is a highlight in any opera season at any opera house or theatre anywhere in the world with many popular melodies like the duet by Papagena and Papageno, ‘Pa Pa Pa’ or the heart melting aria ‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön: This image is enchantingly lovely’. The two arias sung by the Queen of the Night include the highest notes possible in music and are sung by a coloratura soprano.

The Magic Flute in Joburg
Musa Nkuna

The world premiere of the opera was conducted by Mozart himself on 30 September 1791 and was called a Singspiel on the playbill. Literally meaning ‘Sing-speak’, the form combines spoken dialogue with arias and ensembles, and relies on spectacular visual effects to keep the crowd happy. Interestingly, in his letters Mozart referred to it as an opera – he evidently took the piece more seriously than a mere Singspiel. He wrote the music to the words of his friend Emanuel Schikaneder, an actor, impresario and fellow enthusiast of the freemasons – a group whose rational ideals had a powerful influence on the opera’s plot where a noble prince is ordered by the mysterious Queen of the Night to rescue a beautiful princess who has been kidnapped.

Joburg Theatre, in partnership with MDN Classics, will be presenting Mozart’s The Magic Flute on the Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre for four shows only in May, the texts will be sung in German for this production and the spoken dialogues have been adapted into a mixture of South African languages to activate the light-hearted side of this opera and to be as close as possible to the audiences. What better way to do it than with Mozart’s masterpiece: The Magic Flute? An international cast has been assembled for this production, which will include:

  • German-based South African tenor Musa Nkuna as Tamino;
  • South African classical singer Aubrey Lodewyk as Papageno;
  • German-based South African soprano Caroline Nkwe as Pamina;
  • Polish coloratura soprano Alexandra Olczyk as the Queen of the Night;
  • the Three Ladies are Viola Zimmermann, Christine Dammann and Anna Nesyba;
  • Polish bass Marek Gastecki as Sarastro;
  • German tenor Henning Jendritza as Monostatos; and
  • the award-winning Gauteng Choristers will be the chorus.

The stage director is Dr Christoph Dammann, an internationally active theater director and cultural manager, including director of the Cologne Opera, the Portuguese National Opera Lisbon and the Opera Festival Berlin. Costume and lighting design is done by Sybille Pfeiffe and Wolfgang Stärke. This production is accompanied by the German Rhine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Desar Sulejmani, a young Albanian-German conductor whose conducting has taken him to some of Europe’s most important opera houses and concert halls.

Performances are on Wednesday 18 May, Thursday 19 May, Friday 20 May and Tuesday 24 May. Tickets range between R200 to R500 and are available by calling 0861 670 670 or visiting www.joburgtheatre.com, as well as through Webtickets.

For group bookings of ten or more, please contact the theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

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