Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s timeless masterpiece at the Salzburg Festival is always an event. Especially when Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) receives such a “spectacular and virtuosic staging” (Le Figaro) by director Lydia Steier. The young American stage director gave her Salzburg Festival debut with a fresh take on the most beloved opera of all time, performed by a young ensemble of world class singers, the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor and the Wiener Philharmoniker, under the baton of critically acclaimed conductor Constantinos Carydis.
Steier introduces the role of the grandfather, a narrator reading the opera like a fairy tale to his three grandchildren, performed by none other than Karl Maria Brandauer (Out of Africa, James Bond). This ‘trick’ in combination with the gigantic moveable sets by stage designer Katharina Schlipf, which take up the entire vast stage of the Großes Festspielhaus offering “as much machinery magic as possible & fulfilled to a fantastic degree” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), allows new views on Mozart’s magical opera, with its different worlds, here set in the bourgeois Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century.
Among the excellent, homogeneous cast are Christiane Karg as Pamina and Mauro Peter as Tamino. Matthias Goerne portrays Sarastro and Albina Shagimuratova the Queen of the Night. Audience favourites Papageno and Papagena are played by Adam Plachetka and Maria Nazarova. Thanks to Greek conductor Constantinos Carydis, who “seems to breath with the music” (Tagesspiegel), there is a new Mozart to be heard too: Carydis draws “precise phrasing and plenty of crisp articulation from the Wiener Philharmoniker” (Financial Times).