We are all familiar with Mozart’s Magic Flute to the libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. What is far less well known, however, is the fact that Schikaneder wrote a sequel to The Magic Flute and entrusted the acclaimed composer and “Palatinate-Bavarian Kapellmeister” Peter von Winter with the task of setting it to music. Following the premiere in 1798 at the Freihaustheater in Vienna, the same venue where Mozart’s Magic Flute had begun its triumphal progress, the second opera enjoyed several years of lasting successRead more until it fell foul of the French censor and was banished to the archives on the grounds that some of the characters in the performances bore too great a resemblance to Napoleon Bonaparte, who had just taken power. In the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Emanuel Schikaneder’s death, the Salzburg Festival presents this operatic rarity at the city’s Residenzhof in the form of a glittering fairy-tale opera in which magic and ghostly events play a decisive role. All of the characters from The Magic Flute are present plus numerous others, all in imaginatively colourful costumes, all involved in their seriously funny games, as they take the wrong paths through the labyrinth of the soul, fail or succeed in numerous tests, swear undying love and loyalty in the face of power, greed and revenge. They dance and revel, disappear into oblivion or float through the air on a crescent moon, and amid constantly changing scenery and a frenzy of phantasy and colours present a piece of lavish Baroque theatre tailored to today’s tastes. Ivor Bolton conducts his Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra energetically, smoothly and elegantly, bringing out the best in Winter’s charming music with its cleverly interwoven echoes of Mozart. The soloists are from the top drawer: Michael Schade triumphs as Tamino, while Thomas Tatzl and Anton Scharinger are a brilliant young and old Papageno. Coloratura soprano Julia Novikova is in full command of her role as the Queen of the Night. The excellent Salzburg Bach Choir delivers the double chorus parts with immense force and a pleasantly supple sound, depending on what the scene demands. The result is an evening of theatrical magic involving a chemistry made of music, a love of playing and scenic effects in the Baroque atmosphere of the Residenzhof, culminating in a rapturous response from the audience.
Peter von Winter
Part II of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
Sarastro – Christof Fischesser
Königin der Nacht – Julia Novikova
Pamina – Malin Hartelius
Tamino – Michael Schade
Papageno – Thomas Tatzl
Papagena – Regula Mühlemann
Alter Papageno – Anton Scharinger
Alte Papagena – Ute Gfrerer
Erste Dame (Venus) – Nina Bernsteiner
Zweite Dame (Amor) – Christina Daletska
Dritte Dame (Page) – Monika Bohinec
Monostatos – Klaus Kuttler
Tipheus – Clemens Unterreiner
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