Korea National Opera to cast spell with ‘Magic Flute’

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Mar 27, 2019 - 17:20
  • Updated : Mar 27, 2019 - 17:20

The Korea National Opera begins its 2019 season with performances of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the Seoul Arts Center from Thursday to Sunday.

The German opera tells the love story of Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. After Pamina is kidnapped by the high priest Sarastro, the Night Queen persuades Tamino to rescue his daughter and gifts him with the magic flute. 

Singers perform during a rehearsal of “The Magic Flute” on Tuesday at the Seoul Arts Center. (Korea National Opera)
Singers perform during a rehearsal of “The Magic Flute” on Tuesday at the Seoul Arts Center. (Korea National Opera)

Helmed by director Christian Pade, the 1791 opera piece has a touch of humor with stage and costume designs by Alexander Lintl from Germany. An oddly shaped snake puppet and Papageno’s chicken costume are likely to make the audience laugh during the almost three-hour production.

“The main theme of ‘The Magic Flute’ is love and power. We will focus on how the piece makes us think about becoming a useful human for the world and society, in the midst of a constantly changing destiny,” Pade said.

“(The opera depicts us as) humans who are continuously tested between the reality of power and the ideals of love.”

Conductor Thomas Rosner will lead Camerata Antiqua Seoul.

The production’s costumes appear modern, with the Three Ladies wearing double-breasted jackets with organza skirts. Even Princess Pamina is clad in a relatively simple knee-length dress. In one scene, the Queen of the Night dons modest black pants.

While the rest of the cast are Koreans, the Queen of the Night will be performed by Portuguese soprano Sonia Grane, who performed the same role at the Berlin State Opera House during the 2017/18 season. She will deliver the Queen of the Night’s breathtaking aria.

Bass Simon Yang, also known as Yang Hee-jun, will take the role of Sarastro, the high priest of the Sun. Yang has played the role in productions in Germany and Austria.

For more information, visit the Korea National Opera’s website at www.nationalopera.org or the Seoul Arts Center’s website at www.sac.or.kr.

By Im Eun-byel(silverstar@heraldcorp.com)