Review: Die Zauberflöte


Verdict: 9,5

This Tuesday I went to see the opera Die Zauberflöte at Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht performed by the Nationale Reisopera. First of all, I am an absolute opera junky. Which doesn’t mean that I go to the opera every week, but that it’s almost like a religious experience for me. The music, the costumes and the experience as a whole are simply enchanting.

When I was a kid my dad took me to this childproof version of the opera. Frank Groothof, who played in the Dutch version of Sesame Street, has altered a number of operas for children. And my dad, my brother and I went to his version of Die Zaubreflöte (Toverfluit is the Dutch name if you want to listen to it on Frank’s site). I absolutely loved it. The music was intoxicating and the opera was incredibly funny. All I can really remember now (since it’s over 15 years ago and my memory is as bad as it gets) is a green guy in tights with a lots feathers running around, singing and making jokes. The thing that shocked me this time around is that the adult version was just as funny as the childproof version! Normally I enjoy an opera very much, but their usually not laughing material.

The décor was very basic, there was a big round platform in the middle, 3 screens hanging from the ceiling and puppetry sceneries at the sides. Yeah, you read it correctly: PUPPETRY! At first I thought: oh no! NO! Not another ‘modern’ concept of the opera. But this worked out great. The puppetry illustrated everything that couldn’t be illustrated on the real stage. For instance, there was a lot of humping going on when there were scenes that were sexually charged. And during the big duet between Papageno and Papagena the puppeteers surprised the audience by adding little Papagenos or Papeganas to the screen, it was very funny. I’d say the way this opera handled the ‘moderness’ that today’s operas have to go through is very innovative, fun and well chosen.

I’m a big fan of the music style of this opera. I call it ‘bombarie’. Bombarie means that the music is very dramatic. It feels like you’re being hit by a huge wave, which sucks you into the ocean and you just drown in it. It’s amazing to experience an opera like this. Another composer that has this effect on me is Wagner, especially when I saw his Ring Des Niblungen.

Apart from these warzones of music that Mozart creates, this opera also touched me with the more quiet and very emotional parts. Especially the two leading ladies, the Queen of the Night (Beverly Chiat) and Pamina (Johannette Zomer) grabbed me with their performance. Chiat just blew me away with her voice. Her aria, Der Hölle Rache, was so beautiful that I couldn’t get it out of my head the rest of the night. I felt like she’d cast a spell on me and that was superb. Zomer fascinated me in a very different way. She played a very vulnerable yet extremely strong woman and I really felt for her. She touched me and made me feel her pain, which is very special.

So, to conclude with my verdict. I will give Die Zauberflöte as performed by the Nationale Reisopera on Tuesday the 24th a 9,5! Why not a 10? Because I think that the male counterparts weren’t as good as the two shining stars, Chiat & Zomer.

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  • Comments (2)
  1. Tahnks for posting

  2. nice work, dude

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