Opera Scotland

Zauberflöte 2023Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Magic Flute

Given that The Magic Flute must have been performed in rather more productions than any other opera at the Edinburgh Festival, going back to the Hamburg State Opera's first visit in 1952, it seems, at first sight, a thoroughly odd decision to mount a single concert performance.  Furthermore, Scottish Opera's excellent production by Sir Thomas Allen was seen as recently as 2019.

However this enterprise is easy to justify.  2023 is the first Festival to be directed by the great Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, but she had only a few months to prepare her first programme. With the lead-in time for full-scale opera notoriously lengthy, clearly anything of that kind was out of the question.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra are always likely to be available for the Festival, and their brilliant director, the Russian Maxim Emelyanychev has made a huge impact in Scotland in a very short time.  Given that his Covent Garden debut in the early months of 2023 was conducting Sir David McVicar's excellent staging of the work, it perhaps became an obvious choice to assemble a performance in double-quick time.  It helped that the Queen of Night, Papageno and Sarastro from those performances were also available.

The last time this masterpiece was presented at the Festival, in 2015, Barrie Kosky's production from the Komische Oper, Berlin, dispensed with the dialogue altogether.  While in a full staging that was not entirely to all tastes, for a concert presentation it seems a sensible solution.  A further refinement comes with the preparation by that operatic veteran Sir David Pountney of a new narration to keep operatic novices in the picture. His experience with the work goes back at least to his superb Scottish Opera production of 1974. This newly-commissioned narration is to be delivered by another operatic veteran, the baritone Thomas Quasthoff, who presented a memorable masterclass here a couple of years ago.

Performance Cast

Tamino a Prince

Ilker Arcayürek

First Lady in attendance on the Queen

Elizabeth Watts

Second Lady in attendance on the Queen

Catriona Morison

Third Lady in attendance on the Queen

Claudia Huckle

Papageno a bird-catcher

Gyula Orendt

Queen of Night

Kathryn Lewek

Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night

Julia Bullock

Speaker at the Temple

Matthew Brook

Sarastro High Priest of Isis and Osiris

Brindley Sherratt

First Priest

Matthew Brook

Papagena disguised as an old woman

Rachel Redmond

Second Armed Man

Matthew Brook

Performance DatesZauberflöte 2023

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

12 Aug, 18.00

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