In its nearly 40 years of existence, Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) has only performed Mozart’s masterful The Magic Flute twice. POV artistic director Timothy Vernon is eager to once again tackle this challenging opera, which is demanding not only musically, but one requiring complex staging. Add in the 13 singing roles and the audience expectation of lavish sets, and Flute is also an expensive opera to present.
A daunting project to be sure. Done well, though, it puts Mozart’s genius fully on display.
On the surface, this is a seemingly simple fairy tale about a handsome and brave prince who sets out to rescue the proverbial damsel in distress. But all is not what it appears to be, and the audience is gradually drawn into a mysterious realm where the main characters undergo life-threatening trials as part of a complex search for wisdom and enlightenment. “Magic Flute is an intensely theatrical and dramatic work, but also one that is full of delight and human warmth,” explains Vernon. “And the music is quite fabulous.”
POV has long had an enviable national reputation for its custom-built sets and innovative productions, and will generate lots of interest for this one, which will be far from traditional.
They are collaborating with designers from Cirque du Soleil to create sets and effects that will vividly embody the mystery and mysticism that envelop Prince Tamino and his ladylove, Pamina, as they undergo those harsh rites of initiation. The opera debuted in Vienna in 1791, just two months before Mozart’s premature death at the age of 35, and has been delighting audiences ever since. Profound and playful, full of light and dark, humour and drama, Flute rewards audiences with a remarkable journey into a unique artistic experience. “This is one of the world’s great operas . . . it’s an utter masterpiece of an unlikely sort,” Vernon says. “And this promises to be a stirring and intriguing production.”