The Magic Flute reviews
The Magic Flute, May 2016
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John Treba – Troy
Everything about the Opera was fabulous….costuming, sets and players. My only negative was that the speaking volume was too low. The singing volume was perfect but conversation was impossible to understand for most of the production.
Eleanor – Harrison Twp.
Wonderful! The artists, sets, and of course, the music were A+. Congratulations to M.O.T. for a delightful finish to the season.
Paul Bruce – Dearborn
The Magic Flute was a beautiful production from end to end. The role of The Queen of The Night was played by replacement So Young Park, who instantly became the audience favorite after her first number. Of special note were the glorious sets which included a flying ship! Kudos to all the lead performers who were outstanding. LOVED the sister trio!!
claire brown – Grosse Pointe Park
Magic Flute was delightful, charming. Voices outstanding, esp. Queen of the Night.
john g. murphy – Southfield
A very entertaining opera, all the masonic references do give cause to think and, question. The treatment of women was cause for concern also. The gender issues are as relevent today as they were then.
I think about just how far have we come and, how much more we have to do. All of that from a light and fun opera. lol
I look forward to next season!
Elin – Ferndale
Fabulous fun and wonderful music!!!! The sets and costumes were gorgeous and the staging was a fresh interpretation. Mozart never disappoints……and neither does an MOT production! Even the “substitute” soprana was amazing as the Queen of the Night.
Ellen – Jackson
The Magic Flute was amazing. The Queen of the Night was stupendous and I feel honored Ms. So Young Park could sing for us. I do wish the opera had been sung in German, but I still had a wonderful time and am looking forward to next season.
Alexander Z. – Grosse Pointe Woods
This was an amazing presentation. Every moment was enjoyable!
Nicole – Mt. Clemens
Outstanding! Brilliant! and Magical!
Roscoe – Sterling Heights
The orchestra performed very well from overture throughout. The overture sets the tone of the performance which was delightful. All the soloists were in very good form. Lighting and staging and was good with a lot of movement of props. The Queen of the night captured our hearts as the one to fill the absence. Overall an excellent performance.
However I do question the English performance. I believe (my preference) that the original score should be maintained. I believe the nuances of the music mated to the libretto cannot be reproduced by translation and still maintain the integrity of the original creator.
Also the spoken word did not project. It was muted and difficult to hear. Although there are audience cues, since it was in English the words were spoken very quickly, and
it was difficult to catch up.
Robin and gene – W. Bloomfield
Outstanding and delightful production. Every artist was terrific and of course the music by Mozart was so enjoyable-a familiar favorite. Thanks for a splendid production of The Magic Flute.
Garry – Ann Arbor
The very best or one of the best operas performed in recent memory at Detroit Opera House; wonderful singing, imaginative sets, good costumes and great music. Sorry for Christina Poulitsi’s illness but what a treat to hear replacement So Young Park as Queen of the Night!
Traci – Jeddo
What a wonderful first opera for my daughter-in-law and me! Enjoyed ourselves from beginning to end.
Marilyn – Westland
I totally loved the music and humor of the opera. The settings were fabulous. I missed most of the speaking dialogue due to my hearing loss, even with good hearing aides. Everyone was well-cast and the queen’s aria was amazing. Favorites were the queen and Papageno. Great production!!!!
Dan – Rochester Hills
Hans Hölzel (a.k.a. Falco, who left us much too soon) said, “Er war ein Superstar, er war populär …[er] war ein Virtuose, er war in Rockidol!!!” That was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, that is, in Mr. Hölzel’s wickedly clever pop-rock tone poem send-up of Superstar adoration and celebrity. And so Falco pleaded, “Rock me, Amadeus!!” Aptly put. Mozart was to music as Shakespeare was to words – either master could produce the most profound or the most light-hearted works, depending on their wont, showing a breadth of creativity and understanding that few have ever approached in art ever since. “The Magic Flute” is Mozart using music to story-tell, providing a buffet of music for an adult fairy tale/love story with humor and Age-of-Enlightenment philosophical undertones. This unusual mix was delightfully rendered in song and story by the MOT principals, chorus, sets, staging and orchestra. So just get in the mood and tell yourself “Rock me, Amadeus!!!” You won’t regret it.
K. Christine Davis – Ypsilanti
This was my first opera and I am very pleased. The performance was fantastic!
Jeffrey Marraccini – Troy
This opera is very challenging due to the range needed by the performers. Very high and very low notes, along with fast delivery, are really tough! I was very impressed with the Wednesday, 18-May-2016 performance at Michigan Opera Theatre as these very challenging aria were handled magnificently!
The stage design was also interesting and used lighting well, while remaining faithful to (likely) what the costumes and stage setup was during Mozart’s era.
Sitting close to the stage is recommended as a large part of this opera is in spoken voice, not an operatic voice. Using sound reinforcement would have been very challenging, though, as once the performance switches to an operatic voice, it would have been overpowering. Fortunately, there are excellent recordings available in both German and English if a line was missed, and it is another reason to come back when this excellently produced performance returns to Michigan Opera Theatre!
sam & barb – Sterling Heights
enjoyable witty and entertaining. wish it was in german as Mozart intended would have added more depth to it
Dianne – Farmington Hills
Costumes, scenery, voices were wonderful. However, subtitles were needed for the speaking parts. The voices did not project making the action difficult to follow.
James W Kristich – Harsens Island
Chorus and Orchestra where there usual self. Great. The staging a high point and the singing compatent and well done. Worth seeing if your legs don’t cramp before the end of the first act.
That being said I am not a big fan of Mozart, I know such sacrilege, to hear it in English did nothing to convince me that he was the greatest thing since the hot dog. I would have preferred it in German, especially after being offered a world class, if not the best Elektra, I have ever enjoyed.
I believe Milton Cross once said of Die Zauberflote. A curious hodgepodge of political satire and naive humor.
With all that knowledge of classic construction he was only in his thirties. Still a kid.
Don – Ann Arbor
Charming production. All parties did an excellent job, particularly the Queen of the Night. The sets were lovely as well. A word about the English text. In theory I agree that operas should be in the original language, but for the fun of just enjoying the show I will have to contradict myself. Years ago at the UM in Ann Arbor operas were done in English in a small theater and the results could be, as in Figaro, hilarious as well as beautiful. For me, it works in the Magic Flute.
Jean – Dearborn Hts.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opera and liked that it was sung in English with supertitles. I do wish they had included supertitles for the spoken word, too. Because they are not singing, the singers sometimes don’t project as well when they are talking. Also, sometimes they are not looking at the audience, so that interferes with our hearing what they are saying.
I especially enjoyed Papageno’s singing and acting. The duets with Pamina sounded glorious, such a nice blend of voices.
I don’t remember laughing as much when I’ve seen other productions that the MOT has done of this opera—enjoyed that.
Barbara – Grand Blanc
Fabulous! Impressive performances by the cast! Stage sets, lighting, and wardrobes were colorful and creative. Love the story line and music. An overall delightful experience. My favorite Opera by far! Truly magical! Bravo!!
Curtis – West Bloomfield
Excellent show! The costumes and sets were fantastic!
Could have been a little bit louder for us hard of hearing types.
BA – Ypsilanti
Charming performance! Talent aplenty among main and supporting characters. Set was one of the best I’ve seen in 25 years of MOT experience.
Harriet Saperstein – Detroit
I’m not sure what venue Mark Stryker attended when he reviewed the Magic Flute the other day, and he is entitled to his (somewha negative) opinion, but my husband and I thought Saturday Evening’s performance was excellent, for it captured both the humor and the seriousness that Mozart and his librettist(s) wanted to show in the opera. Papageno was superb; and the staging of the meeting with Papageno and Papagena with flowers and children bursting out was just a delight. Yes, I was still bothered by the image and narrow-minded view of women that was is in the libretto, but I recognize that was written three centuries ago. It is interesting to realize that Maria Theresa – the ruler of Austria at that time – was one of the strongest (and most successful) rulers in middle Europe! I liked having it in English, even though (as others have noted) sometimes the speaking voice does not project as well as the singing voice. Why not have supertitles for the speaking parts as well?
Kudo’s to all the singers, chorus, production designers (and crew), and to the Director(s). Thanks also to the donors and supporters who provide the funds that allow metropolitan Detroiters (and visitors from elsewhere) enjoy excellent performances like the Magic Flute.
Frannie – Bloomfield Hills
Very good production. We had trouble understanding/hearing some of the speaking parts. The singing was excellent. Keep up the good work.
BLONDI – Commerce
I loved it. The stageing was fabulous. The costuming was superb, and the casting was wonderful! In all of my years experience with opera (live and filmed), having the excellent new Soprano for the queen of the night was PERFECT, she was spectacular. The best ever!
Congratulations to MOT.
Ann – Harrison Twp.
Wonderful ..delightful …loved the sets and costumes …couldn’t hear the spoken parts but no matter with moving lovely spritely Mozart’s music. Really enjoyed Papageno and Tamino…I do like a bass baritone and a nice tenor. All in all an especially special experience to cap a grand MOT season.
Melissa – Royal Oak
Wonderful performance!!! The set was beautiful. We had trouble hearing the spoken parts, they should have been a bit louder, otherwise fantastic show!
Fernando – Troy
This is a very entertaining opera and the M.O.T. made it better by putting subtle humor in the characters. Recommended for all ages and the family, either this is your firs opera or if you are a connoisseur. All performers were great but definitely I look forward to see the Queen of the Night in another production. Thank you DOH.
Brian Murphy – Rochester Hills
Ken and Kathy Myers – Bloomfield Hills
The performance was totally enjoyable. Wonderful performers, obviously a fun story, great stage sets. and music that was beautiful. And, don’t forget, a fine orchestra. A great way to end the season!
Tom Klaban – West Bloomfield
The Opera was exquisite with impressive performances, costume and set design. We enjoyed the wonderful music and lighthearted story line and highly recommend it to audiences of all ages
Michael Coyne – Vincennes, Indiana
Magic Flute was beyond fabulous! Through music, costumes and scene settings, Mozart brings to his audience a world of fantasy, intrigue, love and a lesson of life. Those observing are mesmerized as the events unfold before us. The Detroit Opera House is the perfect venue for such a timeless classic. Bravo DOH, Bravo!
Frank Coppola – Macomb
Beautiful, fun, a true joy to witness. The set design reflected the meanings hidden in the work. The singers were truly great. The Night Queen’s voice was “what I go to the opera for”.
Dick & Sandy – Farmington Hills
We completely agree with Roscoe from Sterling Highlights – Die Zauberflute should be sung in German.
Heather – Grass Lake
The set and costumes were fabulous! We brought our 5 year old for his first opera experience – he loved it! We really enjoyed the extra things offered for family day (crafts, photo booth, etc…). What a great way to get young people interested!
JAR – West Bloomfield
Fabulous! Gorgeous voices, music, costumes, and sets. Don’t miss it!
Jim Machlay – Milford
Grand opera at it’s best-speaking parts should have been view-able on the overhead reader-not able to hear clearly
Bob – Jackson
What a fabulous performance! The costumes and sets were especially impressive. Everything about the Magic Flute was polished and professional. I can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend in Detroit than by catching this performance at the Opera.
Dr T – Birmingham
This was by far the best MOT performance I’ve attended in the past 5 years. Everything from the overture, to the staging, to the signing, was phenomenal. The conductor and stage director deserve special credit. Such a pleasure seeing Mozart performed in Detroit. Thank you.
Ted St. Antoine – Ann Arbor
I am old and probably getting cranky and certainly getting hard of hearing. On the whole, this was an excellent group of singers and the performance was well worth seeing. Little touches, like the children and the “animals,” were delightful. And one can hardly complain that it did not match the rare magic of the Met’s outstanding production of a few years ago.
But I am stuffy and missed the German, especially in Sarastro’s two great arias and the Queen of the Night’s acrobatics. And if you are going to use English, please have the spoken dialogue loud as others have pointed out, OR even keep the surtitles running (I know the latter seems inconsistent, but it’s a blessing for us elders and no one else need look…).
Walter Graves – Bloomfield Hills
The MOT’s production of “The Magic Flute” was fabulous. The cast was so talented. Mozart is a gift from God. Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours of practice” theory cannot explain some people in this world, like Mozart. It has to be Divine intervention. Give my regards to Dr. Dichiera. My parents were Donald and Josephine Graves, among the founders of Overture to Opera, many years ago. It has been many years since I have seen Dr. Dichiera.
Michele – Clinton Township
The Magic Flute performance (5/22) was wonderful! I was a little disappointed with Sarastro; was hoping his voice would be a little stronger bass. However, all in all, it was a great performance by all. My favorite was Papapeno!!
Michael Goldstein – West Bloomfield
My wife and I attended the May 21 performance of Mozart’s TMF, his last opera, which opened to enthusiastic audiences and reviews only a number of weeks before his tragic death, most recently attributed to acute rheumatic fever which back then was a devastating disease. It is Mozart stretching his wings in TMF, so much so that even Beethoven thought highly of it.
Alas, we didn’t of this production and had to force ourselves to sit all the way through. In fact, the man sitting next to us left at the intermission. If you have not read Mark Stryker, the Detroit Free Press Staff Writer’s review, it largely captures the way we felt about the performance. We were bored.
That being said, this is not the first opera we have attended that generated similar feelings. Years ago, we saw Bizet’s Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera with a legendary cast(!) and it left scars on us. It is not completely clear to me how a great opera can fall flat but when it does, the feeling is the same in that it elementally fails to draw audience members into it. I could tell you our feelings were not unique for the audience applause at various times was anemic during this performance. When an operatic performance is great, the audience’s involvement hangs in the theater like thick cigar smoke; it is very exciting.
OK, Detroit, nice try and do better next time. This was a good start but it needs a better finish.
Robert Musial – Grosse Pointe
Wasn’t familiar with “Magic Flute” as with the works of Puccini and Verdi etc. Enjoyed it even though it seemed overly silly and more like sketch comedy at times. Agree with John Treba of Troy that the volume on the speaking parts was was far too low and impossible to hear though we were seated main floor middle (Row N). Could have used surtitles for those parts since the volume was so low and also noticed the surtitles were missing from certain choruses & refrains. The Queen of the Night at the Sunday matinee was fabulous — what a voice! — and deserved all the applause she received. The 3 Queen’s ladies were good as were the male & female leads; the Queen’s 3 “boys” were well-played but needed volume as well. The sets were striking and distinctive and the orchestra and chorus was first-rate, as usual. To me, this “singspeil” work, done by Mozart in 1793, forecast what would become , 150 years later, the modern musical.
carol gagliardi – Ann Arbor
Best production of Magic Flute I’ve seen. Great tempos and nice flow. Loved the costumes too.
Kathleen – Grosse Pointe Park
Mystifying and fantastic. My husband and I so enjoyed it. The subtitles are a good idea for clarity and those who are hard of hearing. Mozart’s brilliance and energy sure is evident in this beautiful opera!
Reverend G – Clinton Township
Wonderful performance. The Queen was amazing, as was Pamina. Tamino did seem a bit upstaged by the well-cast Papageno.
Our seats directly behind the conductor gave us great ability to hear everything. Still, the 3 spirits could have used more volume, they were the only mic’ed characters. Also Sarastro, when pulling out those lowest notes, was hard to hear. I doubt those toward the rear of the house could hear everything. Still, not relying on amplification gets kudos from me. That is how opera should be.
Lin – Detroit
Amazing, Fabulous, Lovely,, Exciting, Funny, Absolutely GREAT !!!
Elizabeth – Flint
I took my 5-year-old son to the opera because he heard the ad on the radio and asked, “What is opera?” It was a good first experience for him, and he enjoyed it. Being not all that familiar with the storyline myself, I was prompted to consider some of the lines that were not very friendly to women… something to unpack with my son further!
If I could offer a suggestion… the opera was billed as “kid-friendly,” and in many respects it was. One improvement would be to have a synopsis available that tells the story in a more straightforward fashion. Knowing the story in advance helps kids follow along, and the more academic descriptions of plot lines, while interesting, meant I had to try to interpret Masonic initiation rites into kid-language on the fly!
Thank you for your review, Elizabeth, and for bringing up the tricky task of explaining opera to children! Our education department creates a classroom guide for every opera, which we post on our website for parents, teachers, and young people to download: The Magic Flute Study Guide
-Michigan Opera Theatre
Helen – Farmington Hills
It was a wonderful production.!!! The opera talk before was very helpful to understand the rather complicated plot.