About the program
The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), widely seen as Mozart’s most profound masterpiece, can be interpreted in a host of different ways. What is more, the opera is integral to the story of Iván Fischer and the Festival Orchestra. As children, both Iván Fischer and his elder brother, Ádám, performed in the Hungarian State Opera House’s production of The Magic Flute. Later, in the 1990s, an acclaimed rendition of The Magic Flute established the Festival Orchestra’s tradition of operatic performances. Following on from the three Da Ponte operas; The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte, the BFO presented Mozart’s final stage masterpiece once again last season, conducted and directed by Iván Fischer.
Of all his operas, The Magic Flute brought Mozart his greatest success. The piece looked certain to open the curtain on a new period in the composer’s oeuvre, only for it to be cut short by his untimely death just two months later, on 5 December. The Magic Flute was composed in a new environment and for a new audience. Mozart’s ‘machine comedy,’ as the genre was called in those days, was commissioned by the Wiedner Theater (or Freyhaustheater), then in the suburbs of Vienna.
We know about the reception of the opera from the composer himself, since he sent a detailed account of the performance in an affectionate letter to his wife, Constanze. A week after the first night, he wrote “I have just this moment returned from the opera, which was as full as ever. The ‘Mann und Weib’ etc. duet and the chimes of the first act had to be encored as always, as did the boys’ terzetto in the second act. But what always gives me most pleasure is the silent approval – you can see how this opera is being held in higher and higher esteem.”
Mozart was sadly unable to witness the success of The Magic Flute the following season, when it saw runs of a hundred or more performances across the theatres of the German-speaking world. The opera’s global fame has been growing ever since.
The original premiere in March 2015 was a joint production of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest.
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
English dialogues by Jeremy Sams
Sarastro: Krisztián Cser
Queen of the Night: Mandy Fredrich
Pamina, her daughter: Hanna-Elisabeth Müller
Tamino, a Japanese prince: Bernard Richter
Papageno, a bird-cather: Hanno Müller-Brachmann
Papagena: Norma Nahoun
Three Ladies: Eleonore Marguerre, Olivia Vermeulen, Barbara Kozelj
Three Boys: Dávid Márton Szabó, Botond Takács, Zoltán Deim
Monostatos, a Moor: Rodolphe Briand
Speaker: Peter Harvey
Two Priests / Two Guards: Gustavo Quaresma Ramos, Peter Harvey
Actors: Joanna Croll, Felicity Davidson, Laura Rees, Scott Brooksbank, Jonathan Oliver, Bart van der Schaaf
Chorus: Á la cARTe Choir & musicians of the Budapest Festival Orchestra
Set Designer and Illustrator: Margit Balla
Costume Designer: Györgyi Szakács
Silhouette Designer: Ágnes Kuthy
Lighting Designer: Tamás Bányai
Dramaturg: Anna Veress
Stage Manager / Assistant Director: Andrea Valkai
Assistant Conductor: Vladimir Fanshil
Repetiteur: Dóra Bizják
Budapest Festival Orchestra