"The Magic Flute" (Lyric Opera): Spellbinds in Fervor and Funny!

01. Charles Castronovo, THE MAGIC FLUTE RST_0495 c. Dan Rest

The 2011/2012 Lyric Opera Season is being marketed with a sassy, high-spirited campaign.  ‘More passion than the Kennedy at rush hour’ and ‘our singers don’t need microphones’ are two of the slogans promoting a softer side to the world renowned institution.  The opera roster reflects a similar frisky sentiment.  The Lyric is giving us plenty to laugh at this season.  Tales of Hoffmann (our review) and Araidne Auf Naxos(review) were anchored in light-hearted, romantic hi-jinx.  The Lyric seems to be reacting to economic and political pressures by liberally letting-their-hair-down.  Side-stepping their traditional character, it’s almost like the Lyric is asking Chicago, ‘why so serious, dude?’ I’m waiting for the cheeky ‘your life is a dramatic opera, escape here’ banner. 03. Audrey Luna, Charles Castronovo, THE MAGIC FLUTE DAN_2022, c. Dan RestAnd now, because good things come in threes, this third humorous, lovable offering pops up on the Lyric schedule.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago presents The Magic Flute.  Tamino loves Pamina!  He’s never met her but he’s heard she’s imprisoned at a temple.  Pamina loves Tamino!  She’s never met him but she’s heard he’s coming to rescue her.  It’s love before first sight.  It’s that simple!  Well, not quite.  Pamina’s captor and her mother are demanding, punishing authorities.  Before Pamina can be released, Tamino must convert to the brotherhood.  His initiation rite is a series of tests.  Meanwhile, mom wants Pamina to murder her priestly jailer.  Pamina is confused.  She wants to chat it out with her beloved.  But, he’s not speaking to her!  Unbeknownst to Pamina, Tamino’s hazing stunt is to ignore her.  His silence pushes her into suicidal madness.  To add to the lunacy, there is a girl-crazed sidekick, a prince-obsessed trio, green-faced natives and a whole lot of beastly creatures.  The Magic Flute spellbinds people in the fervor and the funny.

Read the rest of my review at Chicago Theater Beat.

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