The new season began July 17 and runs through August 10 in venues at Lincoln Center including David Geffen Hall, Koch Theater, Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theater, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Merkin Concert Hall, Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, John Jay College and others.
Last night we heard the most exciting, creative and delightful Magic Flute ever. Truth to tell, we had no idea what we were in for–it’s just that we always buy tickets for the Flute if it’s being done. This time, it was pure serendipity by accident.
The production comes from the Komische Oper Berlin and we spent the first half laughing. Included along with the opera were video, silent film, animation, 1920s Berlin cabaret, comedy, and of course, live performance. (nytimes) Singers hung from windows in the set, some high, some low, and titles took the place of the spoken dialogue. Under the titles, a pianist played ominous-sounding selections from two Mozart piano works. We did not miss the spoken dialogue and the whole piece moved very fast, much more so than usual.
The bad news is that some music was also cut, notably the aria in which Papageno introduces himself. Also, and this would be for you musicians out there, the piano pieces didn’t always segue into the next aria in the expected key, so it was sometimes jarring.
Apart from these quibbles, the production was unique and amazing. The singers were great and every role was covered. We saw a wonderful cast with tenor Aaron Blake as the Tamino, baritone Evan Hughes as Papageno, and coloratura Alexandra Olczyk as the Queen of the Night. The other cast was apparently also terrific. The choir included soloists from the Komische Oper Berlin and three exquisite voices from the Tolzer Boys choir.
There are only two more performances, tonight and tomorrow, but we’re hoping this production will make it back to New York so others can see it.
The conductor, Louis Langree, the Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival since 2002, is a New York treasure and has raised the performance level so much, the Festival continues to be an eagerly awaited member of the New York music scene each year.
You can get seats for orchestral concerts, film, chamber music, dance-theater, (lincolncenter.org) and other combinations, plus several free events in the David Rubenstein Atrium, St. Paul’s Chapel and the Bruno Walter Auditorium on a first come, first served basis. Go early–everybody knows about these. You can buy a package and save, become a member and save even more. In any case, the tickets are reasonable, averaging $50-$100. Go to: http://www.lincolncenter.org/mostly-mozart-festival/calendar to make your choice. But don’t miss the annual New Yorkers’ tribute to Mozart and other great masters.