David Stern Conducts The Magic Flute by Mozart
At the Israeli Opera
The Israeli Opera 26th season continues with a new production of one of the most popular operas of all time – Mozart's Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute). David Stern, the music director of the Israeli Opera, conducts the production directed by Jean-Louis Grinda featuring a cast of leading Israeli opera singers with a few guests from abroad.
Stern will conduct the Israeli Opera Chorus and the opera orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion. 12 performances are planned at the opera house commencing May 13, 2011. The opera is performed in German with Hebrew and English surtitles.
As is usual in all Israeli Opera performances, a 30 minutes pre performance lecture (in Hebrew) will be available to all ticket holders one hour before curtain time. Opera Talkbacks will take place after several of the performances
Mozart's Magical Finale
The Magic flute is the last opera Mozart composed in which he returned the German singspiel genre (a sort of an 18th century musical). This was the first opera Mozart composed not on commission but only for a promise that he will have his share of the box office receipts, an arrangement which was far from usual at the time. This arrangement was the idea of impresario, theatre owner and singing actor Emanuel Shikaneder, who wrote the libretto of The Magic Flute.
This magical opera in on the one hand a fairytale about the battle of good against evil and on the other a much deeper philosophical opus about the meaning of right and wrong and the nature of human beings, replete with numerous freemasonry images. It is a hero's initiation rite in which he sets of on a journey to save a damsel in distress and in the process discovers his own true self.
French opera director Jean-Louis Grinda (Don Carlo, Mephistopheles and La Gioconda at the Israeli Opera) set the Magic Flute in a time and place that are far from specific, yet are much more universal. This very colorful production can and does take place in this day and age and it is centered on three children who go through a sort of an initiation rite of understanding and self revelation.
Israeli and Guest Opera Singers
Israeli soprano Hila Baggio (Marie in La Fille du Regiment earlier this season), sings the role of Princess Pamina. Guy Manheim (who has performed numerous roles at the Israeli Opera) will perform Papageno, the role Mozart composed for Emanuel Shikaneder, who wrote the libretto for the opera. Young American tenor Arthur Espiritu will perform the role of Prince Tamino in his Israeli Opera debut, sharing the roles with Israeli tenor Joseph Aridan. Two guest coloratura sopranos will share the role of the Queen of the Night – Russian Yekaterina Lekhina (Olympia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Israeli Opera) and American Sara Hershkowitz in her company debut. Israeli born American bass Oren Gradus makes his company debut as Sarastro and American tenor Denis Petersen makes his Israeli debut in the role of Monostatos. The cast also features many more Israeli opera singers including two groups of children trios in the role of the young boys who in this production have a major acting role aside of their singing numbers.