Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Magic Flute plays for family

Published:Thursday | December 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Mozart's The Magic Flute is a celebration for the entire family.

The Met Opera presents a special encore performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute, showing at the Palace Cineplex on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.,

Julie Taymor's production of Mozart's masterpiece takes the stage in its abridged, English language version, with Nathan Gunn as the irrepressible bird catcher Papageno. It runs for 100 minutes.

In a mythical land between the sun and the moon, three ladies in the service of the Queen of the Night save Prince Tamino from a serpent. The Queen, appearing in a burst of thunder, tells Tamino about the abduction of her daughter, Pamina.

Tamino, who has fallen in love with a portrait of Pamina, agrees to rescue her. The ladies give a magic flute to Tamino and silver bells to his friend Papageno, the bird catcher, to ensure their safety on the journey and appoint three spirits to guide them.

Led by the three spirits to the temple of Sarastro, Tamino learns from a high priest that it is in fact the Queen who is evil. Sarastro tells the priests that Tamino will undergo initiation rites, guided by the three spirits and protected by the magic flute. Papageno uses his magic bells to summon in his true love, Papagena.

The Queen of the Night, her three ladies and Monostatos, Sarastro's slave, attack the temple but are defeated and banished. Sarastro blesses Pamina and Tamino as all join in hailing the triumph of courage, virtue, and wisdom.

American director of theatre, opera and film, Julie Taymor, is perhaps best known for directing the stage musical The Lion King. She created history as the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a musical, in addition to a Tony Award for Original Costume Design.

Taymor's staging and direction of The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflˆte) has been described as "exquisitely beautiful - as if she had discovered how to translate Mozart's phrases into movement, shape and lighting".

She shares more about her inspiration in bringing this awesome production to the stage.

Q: What did you first focus on when designing The Magic Flute?

JT: What I think is great, first and foremost, is the music. The beauty and joy of Mozart's music is really exciting and fun. And it's a story of young people and their journey through danger and fantasy and wildness. It's a coming-of-age story about young people.

Q: What are the challenges of this opera?

JT: There's nothing difficult in The Magic Flute. Through the centuries it has been the most popular opera ever performed - ever. It's for all people, because it's a lyrical, magical love story set against this incredible backdrop of enchantment and mystery and darkness against the bright. There are a lot of puppets in the production - the dragon, the birds, the dancing bears. The wings of the Queen of the Night and the birds and the bears and dragon all feature light moving through fabric. It's almost like Japanese kites, as opposed to the heavier kind of puppetry that's more like stuffed animals. This is much more light and airy. And that comes from the notion of air coming through the flute.

The Magic Flute stars Russell Thomas, as Tamino, Prince of a mythical kingdom, who falls in love with Pamina, daughter of the Queen on the Night, played by Susanna Phillips. The cast also includes Natahan Gunn, Erika Miklosa, Ashley Emerson and Morris Robinson.

Tickets are on now sale for The Met Opera's 2015-16 season now at the box offices of participating cinemas and via the web at www.palace amusement.com, with a value added Palace Card.