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Mozart tailored the parts for the members of the original 1791 cast who varied greatly in experience. The Sarastro had strong low notes and that part requires a fine bass, while the Queen of the Night was written for the composer's sister-in-law who had excellent coloratura skills and easy high notes. Other parts, such as that of Monostatos, are not difficult for singers to learn, but producing an eighteenth century piece more than 200 years later is still a challenge.

Martin Zysset as Monostatos is carried away by his slave chorus in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
Martin Zysset as Monostatos is carried away by his slave chorus in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard

The San Diego production of Die Zauberflöte with its crisply detailed direction by Michael Hampe and imaginative, colorful costumes by Zandra Rhodes, was first seen in 2001. It was a sell-out then, but the performance on 9 May 2006 had an even better cast.

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Copyright © 28 May 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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