A 'Magic Flute'
for children -
'... a very special production ...'
Whatever the critical response to Salzburg's season of Christian Boesch's take on Mozart/Schikaneder's dazzling singspiel opera, Die Zauberflöte, a quarter of a century ago is, in hindsight, of little consequence.
On DVD its overwhelming success is more than clear through the expressions of many children visibly enraptured at the unfolding magic on both Salzburg's 'Felsenreitschule' stage and within the Vienna Philharmonic pit.
Today, twenty five years later, I'd wager that few, if any, among those 1982 audiences have forgotten the cocktail of fun, fable and inspired musical education that blossomed on those truly inspired occasions.
The deal at these matinee 'Zauber (flöten) Reich Theatre' performances was that no adult could attend unless accompanied by two or more children aged fourteen or under. And it worked a treat.
Baritone and concept creator Christian Boesch (playing Papageno) proved a perfect, charismatic, delightful, actor-vocalist in the dual role of Schikaneder's birdcatcher and storyteller.
Pamina (Ileana Cotrubas) and Sarastro (Kurt Rydl) in 'Die Zauberflöte für Kinder'. Screenshot © 1982 ORF
Boesch worked together with Paris-born director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932-1988) using as their template Ponelle's Salzburg Zauberflöte production of 1978; their task -- to second guess Viennese youngsters' capacity for understanding and appreciating Mozart's challenging, endlessly-beguiling magic creation.
Copyright © 25 December 2007
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand