The Magic Flute

Cast

Santiago Ballerini
Tamino

Meigui Zhang
Pamina

Rainelle Krause
The Queen of the Night

Peixin Chen
Sarastro

Luke Sutliff
Papageno

Barry Banks
Monstatos

Amanda Sheriff
Papagena

Diana Newman
1st Lady

Alexandra Razskazoff
2nd Lady

Meridian Prall
3rd Lady

Creative

Arthur Fagen
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

David Higgins
Set & Costume Designer

Banner_MagicFlute_2425

The Magic Flute / Die Zauberflöte
Composer: W.A. Mozart
Librettist: Emanuel Schikaneder
Premiere Performance: Sept 30, 1791—Vienna, Theater an der Wein

With a magic flute and bells, a prince and a bird-catcher set off to free a kidnapped princess. However, the path to happiness is not smooth as friends become enemies and foes become allies in this comic opera with a star-studded cast. Gorgeous music, whimsical characters, sorcerers, heroes, magical instruments, and delightful special effects are layered over the deeper quest for wisdom and truth. 

Performed in German with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 3 hours
Act I:
70 minutes  |  Intermission: 25 minutes  |  Act II: 85 minutes

Banner_MagicFlute_2425

The Magic Flute / Die Zauberflöte
Composer: W.A. Mozart
Librettist: Emanuel Schikaneder
Premiere Performance: Sept 30, 1791—Vienna, Theater an der Wein

With a magic flute and bells, a prince and a bird-catcher set off to free a kidnapped princess. However, the path to happiness is not smooth as friends become enemies and foes become allies in this comic opera with a star-studded cast. Gorgeous music, whimsical characters, sorcerers, heroes, magical instruments, and delightful special effects are layered over the deeper quest for wisdom and truth. 

Performed in German with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 3 hours
Act I:
70 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Act II: 85 minutes

Cast

Santiago Ballerini
Tamino

Meigui Zhang
Pamina

Rainelle Krause
The Queen of the Night

Peixin Chen
Sarastro

Luke Sutliff
Papageno

Barry Banks
Monstatos

Amanda Sheriff
Papagena

Diana Newman
1st Lady

Alexandra Razskazoff
2nd Lady

Meridian Prall
3rd Lady

Creative

Arthur Fagen
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

David Higgins
Set & Costume Designer

*Sponsored in name this season by a gift from Beth & Gary Glynn, The Glynn Studio Artists also receive significant support from the Donald & Marilyn Keough Foundation, John & YeeWan Stevens, and Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg.

Synopsis

The Magic Flute presents a complex storyline, even for an opera!  A quest for love, wisdom, and enlightenment are wrapped in a hero-rescue story with a huge plot twist in Act II. Traditionally set in Egypt near a temple of Isis. Fleeing from an attacking great serpent, a defenseless Tamino falls unconscious and is rescued by three veiled ladies and their lethal spears. Though unable to be in love themselves, the trio hopes that this attractive young man will ease the heart of their troubled Queen. They leave to tell their queen of the newcomer. Meanwhile Tamino wakes, glad to discover that he was mysteriously rescued. He hides from the entrance of the comic Papageno, who, with his Pan-pipe and feathers announces himself as a bird-catcher and a pursuer of pretty girls.

Read More

Tamino assumes his rescue was at the hands of Papageno, despite the odd appearance of the bird-man. Papageno is willing to take the hero’s credit but is ultimately punished for his lies when the Ladies return. Tamino is offered a portrait of the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, which he serenades with tenderness and appreciation of her beauty. The Ladies share the awful situation that Pamina has been kidnapped by an evil Magician and is held hostage. The Queen of the Night appears and implores Tamino to rescue her beloved daughter, promising her in marriage if he is victorious. Our hero, with Papageno as his odd companion, sets out to rescue the maiden equipped with two magical musical instruments. 

In the palace of the magician Sarastro, where Pamina is being held, Papago strays in, sent ahead by Tamino, and his bizarre appearance frightens the Moorish slave guarding the girl. Mutually terrified, both Papageno and Monostatos consider each other a devil and flee. Ultimately, the princess comes to believe that her mother has sent a prince to rescue her. In a tender moment Papageno tells of his own yearning for love and the scene ends with their duet about the joys of love. 

In his quest for Pamina, Tamino encounters a wise man at the site of three temples who tells him that the motives of the magician are in service of wisdom and enlightenment, far beyond the understanding of the Queen or any woman without the guidance of a man. Sarastro arrives and the terrified Pamina and Tamino are brought to him. It’s revealed that Pamina’s mother, the Queen of the Night, seeks to destroy knowledge and wisdom in the darkness of her need for power. To fight this evil domination, the lovers are veiled and sent on separate quests. Tamino is led to the Temple of Probation while Pamina is taken to the Temple of Wisdom.  

Tamino is presented with tasks and rules that are meant to lead him to his higher self. Despite distractions and temptations, the prince proves himself worthy. In contrast to the exalted hero’s journey of Tamino, the other characters are presented with a wild variety of situations. The Moorish slave lusts after Pamina and is punished by Sarastro. Pamina fights for her virtue and is willing to die rather than submit to evil. She is pushed to value power over love by her mother Queen of the Night, but fights despair by her strength and love for Tamino. Papageno, a truly naïve son of nature, wants to be loyal and brave but his foolishness cannot rise above his own fears and honest enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life, food, drink, and love. His wishes are granted when the magic of his music rewards him with his perfect counterpart, Papagena, and their own delightful love nest.  

The Queen of the Night is, in fact, trying to destroy the brotherhood of the seekers of wisdom. After the Sarastro and the Priests successfully guide Tamino and Pamina through the ultimate quest to free them from the fear of death, the evil forces of the Queen, her ladies and the Moorish slave Monostatos try to attack the temple. The opera ends with Sarastro, Tamina, Pamini, the Genii, Priests and others shattering their treachery through the power of courage, fidelity, and virtue.  

Characters & Cast

Tamino

Santiago Ballerini

View Website >

Pamina

Meigui Zhang

View Website >

Queen of the Night

Rainelle Krause

View Website >

Sarastro

Peixin Chen

View Website >

Papageno

Luke Sutliff

View Website >

Monostatos

Barry Banks

View Website >

Papagena

Amanda Sheriff

View Website >

A First Timer’s Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?

Auditions

Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.

Rehearsals

Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756 – 1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria on January 26, 1756. Though he did not begin to walk until he was three years old, Mozart’s talent for music soon became apparent. At the age of four, he could reproduce on the piano a melody played to him; at five, he could play the violin with perfect intonation; and at six he composed his first minuet.

As the young Mozart’s reputation grew, his father Leopold realized the financial rewards that could arise from increased exposure of his son’s talents. From that time on, Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl spent much of their childhood traveling through Europe. The rulers of Europe and England were astounded by Wolfgang’s abilities of composition, improvisations, and sight reading. While the public admired Wolfgang for his talents, they disapproved quite heartily of his father, saying extensive voyages and frequent exhibitions were no life for the child.

Read More

Mozart become the concertmaster for the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1771. After spending frustrating and unproductive years serving the Archbishop, Mozart resigned. He promptly moved to Vienna where his creative energies flourished. There Mozart met and was influenced by Hayden, who came to love him like his own son. He told Leopold Mozart, “I consider your son to be the greatest composer I have ever heard.”

In 1782, Mozart married Constanze Weber, the sister of his long-time love Aloysia. His father disapproved of his son’s choice of bride and lifestyle. The newlyweds lived the carefree gypsy life constantly moving from house to house, spending money frivolously.

In 1784, Lorenzo Da Ponte presented Mozart the libretto for The Marriage of Figaro  and a long collaboration between the two began. Figaro  premiered in 1786 to an enthusiastic crowd. The two continued their initial success with another: Don Giovanni , which received its premiere in Prague in 1787. Later that same year, Wolfgang’s father died, leaving the 31-year old alone for the first time.

The success of a revival of Figaro  in Vienna led to a commission from the Emperor Joseph II for Cosi fan tutte , again with Da Ponte, the premiere of which was a qualified success. In 1790, with the death of Joseph II, Mozart found himself out of favor with the new regime and plagued by his creditors. He was helped by Emanuel Shikander, who commissioned The Magic Flute  for his theater. Another commission came at this time, for La Clemenza Di Tito , but it did not help his situation, as it received mixed reviews.

Mozart’s health waned and it was during this illness that he received his last commission. A mysterious stranger requested a requiem mass from the composer. Depressed and delirious, Mozart became convinced that the Requiem was for his own death. In 1791, Wolfgang’s pupil Sussmayer completed the work, as the composer was too ill. He was given a pauper’s funeral and was buried in an unmarked grave, in silence and unattended.

– courtesy Arizona Opera Virtual Opera House

Mozart

Conductor

Arthur Fagen

Arthur Fagen has been the Carl and Sally Gable music director at The Atlanta Opera since 2010, and continues to be in great demand as a conductor of symphony and opera both in Europe and the United States. He is a regular guest at the most prestigious opera houses, concert halls, and music festivals at home and abroad, and his career has been marked by a string of notable appearances including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Staatsoper Berlin, Munich State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and New York City Opera.

From 1998 to 2001, Fagen was invited regularly to be guest conductor at Vienna State Opera. On the concert podium, Fagen has appeared with internationally renowned orchestras, including Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Munich Radio Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and RAI Orchestras of Turin, Naples, Milan, and Rome. From 2002 to 2007, he was the music director of Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera. He serves as Chair and Professor, Department of Orchestral Conducting at Indiana University in Bloomington.

A former assistant of Christoph von Dohnanyi (Frankfurt Opera) and James Levine (Metropolitan Opera), he served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff for Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Fagen was born in New York and studied with Laszlo Halasz, Max Rudolf (Curtis Institute) and Hans Swarowsky. Fagen has an opera repertoire of more than 75 works and has recorded for Naxos and BMG. His Naxos recording of Bohuslav Martinůs works was awarded Editor’s Choice in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone Magazine.

Headshot_ArthurFagen23

Production Director

Tomer Zvulun

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli born Tomer Zvulun is also one of opera’s most exciting stage directors, earning consistent praise for his creative vision, often described as cinematic and fresh.  His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, the opera companies of Israel, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Montreal, Wexford, Glimmerglass, Houston, Washington National Opera, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego, Minnesota, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston University, and IVAI in Tel Aviv.   

Since taking the leadership in Atlanta a decade ago, he personally directed thirty of the company’s productions. He increased the operations of the company from three to six productions per season, while stabilizing the financials and in the course of his first decade tenure, secured Atlanta’s position as one of the top 10 opera companies in the US. Some of his noted achievements includes launching the successful Discoveries series, creating the first young artist program in the company’s history, tripling the company’s annual fund raising, launching the company’s first RING cycle, creating The Atlanta Opera Film Studio, and building a theatre in a circus tent where performances were conducted safely during the pandemic. 

Read More

His work at The Atlanta Opera attracted international attention by earning numerous awards and prizes including the nomination of The Atlanta Opera for the International Opera Awards in London and the selection of his production of Silent Night as both the Irish Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution production of the year. His focus on innovation led to an invitation to deliver a TED talk as well as a case study that is being taught at Harvard Business School. His productions travel the world and bring wide exposure to the company. Next season his productions of  Rigoletto travel to Los Angeles Opera, his La bohème returns to The Dallas Opera, and his acclaimed production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs will make its Kennedy Center debut at the Washington National Opera.  

Headshot_Tomer2022