Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
31 May to 21 July
31 May 2018
2, 8, 14, 17, 22, 24, 30 June 2018
11, 17, 19, 21 July 2018
Start time 6pm - Interval 7.10pm - Finish 10pm
Insight Talk - Wednesday 18 April 2018
Pre-performance Talk - Friday 8 June 2018, 4.30pm
Mozart’s much-loved final opera, The Magic Flute, celebrates the triumph of love and reason over chaos and evil. Prince Tamino and the bird-catcher Papageno set out on a perilous quest to rescue Pamina from the evil Sarastro. But is everything as it seems? As they enter Sarastro's world they must overcome a series of trials to be reunited with their true loves.
Premiered in 1791, just two months before Mozart's death, this sublime masterpiece combines heart-warming arias, dazzling coloratura and lyrical folksong in an enchanting tale that is both comic and profound.
Cardiff Singer of the World prizewinner Louise Alder (Ilia, Idomeneo, 2016) and Jonathan McGovern (Pelléas, Pelléas et Mélisande, 2017) sing Pamina and Papageno and leading British tenor Benjamin Hulett makes his Garsington debut as Tamino. We are delighted to welcome Netia Jones (director and designer) and Christian Curnyn (conductor) who make their Garsington debuts.
Sung in German with English supertitles
Tamino is pursued by a giant snake. As he loses consciousness he is rescued by three Ladies, servants of the Queen of the Night. Papageno, a bird-catcher, claims to have killed the monster himself, and is punished by the three Ladies. They give Tamino a portrait of Pamina, the Queen of the Night's daughter, and he falls in love with her.
The Ladies tell Tamino that Pamina was abducted by an evil man, Sarastro, leader of the brotherhood. The Queen of the Night laments the loss of her daughter and urges Tamino to rescue her. He will be accompanied on this mission by Papageno and the Ladies give them a magic flute and a set of magic bells to protect them. Three Boys will guide them on their way.
Inside Sarastro's stronghold, Pamina attempts to escape from her lecherous guard, Monostatos. He is frightened off by the unexpected appearance of Papageno, who tells Pamina about Tamino's quest to find her and about his own loneliness. Together they go in search of Tamino.
The three Boys lead Tamino to the temples of Reason, Nature and Wisdom. Voices forbid him to enter by the first two entrances and, when he reaches the third, he encounters the Speaker, Sarastro's deputy. He learns to think differently about Sarastro and discovers that Pamina is still alive.
Tamino plays his magic flute, which enchants even wild animals. Hearing the flute, Pamina and Papageno attempt to follow the sound but are caught by Monostatos and his men. Papageno distracts them by playing his magic bells. Sarastro and his followers gather and Pamina explains what has happend to her. Monostatos presents his most recent captive, Tamino, expecting a reward. Sarastro, however, orders him to be punished and invites Tamino to become an initiate to the brotherhood. As Tamino and Pamina see each other for the first time, they are abruptly separated.
Sarastro convinces his followers that Tamino is a suitable candidate for the brotherhood and tells them that Pamina has been chosen to be his partner: together they will secure a future free of evil. Tamino and Papageno are blindfolded and led away to undergo a series of trials, the first of which is to remain silent. Sarastro prays for them to be given the courage they will need. The three Ladies attempt to distract them into breaking their vow, but without success.
Monostatos again attempts to attack Pamina but her mother, the Queen of the Night, intervenes. She forces a dagger on her daughter and orders her to kill Sarastro. Monostatos witnesses this encounter and threatens to betray Pamina if she will not give herself to him. He is discovered and banished by Sarastro, who counsels and comforts Pamina.
Tamino and Papageno are still bound to silence. Papageno breaks his vow when he is accosted by an old woman who claims to be his girlfriend. The three Boys bring them food and drink and return the magic instruments. Tamino plays his flute and is heard by Pamina, who comes to find him. She is heartbroken when he refuses to speak to her.
Sarastro commends Tamino for his steadfastness but tells him that, although he will be permitted to see Pamina again, it may be for the last time. The two lovers are joyfully reunited, only to be separated once more. Papageno is told that he will be denied admission to the brotherhood but is given the chance to see the old woman momentarily transformed into a glorious creature, his very own Papagena.
In despair, Pamina attempts to kill herself but is prevented by the three Boys, who persuade her that Tamino really loves her. Pamina and Tamino undergo the final trials of fire and water together. Protected by the magic flute, they emerge triumphant.
Papageno has lost his Papagena and cannot contemplate life without her. The Boys remind him of his magic bells and, when he plays them, she appears.
The Queen of the Night, Monostatos and the three Ladies mount an attack on Sarastro but are discovered and defeated. All join in praise of Tamino and Pamina, and celebrate the triumph of beauty, wisdom and light.