1. MOZART’S LAST OPERA
Mozart had a productive year before he died towards the end of 1791. In the spring of that year, he interrupted the composition process of Die Zauberflöte to write the opera La clemenza di Tito, which premiered on 6 September 1791. He then went on to put the finishing touches on his ‘Singspiel’ Die Zauberflöte, which would premiere a few weeks later. In 1791, Mozart also worked on his last piano concerto, his clarinet concerto and his unfinished Requiem. At the end of his life, Mozart style was characterised by intricate and deep orchestrations, yet it exhibited an unparalleled sense of lightness.
2. STAGE DIRECTOR SIMON MCBURNEY BACK IN AMSTERDAM
After five years, Simon McBurney’s imaginative stage direction is back in the theatre where it all started in 2012. Since then, the production has travelled the world, dazzling the stages of the English National Opera in London, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in France and many more. Last May, it even graced the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Critics were especially impressed with McBurney’s clever use of simple theatre tools to evoke a magical world, igniting the audience’s imagination.
3. MUSICAL DIRECTION BY RICCARDO MINASI
Italian-born Riccardo Minasi is one of the most sought-after opera conductors in the world. His main focus is early music. He has garnered acclaim for his approach to the classical repertoire and is mainly celebrated for his Mozart interpretations. Minasi has served as chief conductor of Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg in Austria since 2016 and has held the position of Artist in Residence at Ensemble Resonanz in Hamburg, Germany, since 2018. He worked with Dutch National Opera in the past to conduct Händel’s Rodelinda (with Concerto Köln) and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (with, like this time, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra). As the conductor of Le nozze di Figaro, Minasi was lauded for his interpretation of the sheet music, and the agility and subtlety he displayed in crafting a seamless performance.
4. SOUND EFFECTS AND VISUAL MAGIC
This production of Die Zauberflöte not only showcases Mozart’s music, but also features an impressive sound set. During the recitatives, a sound artist will produce captivating and playful sound effects, live from a booth on the stage. On top of that, existing and live-recorded video images will be combined to create the mystical world of Die Zauberflöte.
5. THOMAS OLIEMANS AS PAPAGENO
When Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans played the role of Papageno in the premiere of McBurney’s production in 2012, he became an instant crowd pleaser. McBurney and Oliemans crafted a character that had grown up in social isolation and had trouble relating to the people and the world around him. This is very much different from the clown-like way in which Papageno is typically portrayed. Oliemans has travelled the world to star in McBurney’s production. His travels recently took him to New York, where he made his debut at the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera.
- Dutch National Opera will be performing Die Zauberflöte from 1 through 28 December 2023 at Dutch National Opera & Ballet.