Mozart’s Magic Flute, premiered in Vienna in 1791, is one of the most performed and most popular operas of all time. Its popularity seems undiminished. The main event of the 2013 Easter Festival in Baden-Baden is four performances of the Magic Flute, directed by Robert Carsen and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Two concert performances will be given in the Philharmonie at the beginning of April.
The Magic Flute is popular not only with opera directors in the theatre, but also in film. This is demonstrated by numerous cinematic realisations. There are four versions available: in 1974, Ingmar Bergman shot a highly acclaimed film version Trollflöjten for Swedish television which received a cinema release in October 1975. It is sung in Swedish and conducted by Eric Ericsson. In France, Benno Besson produced his version in 2003 with Piotr Beczata (Tamino) and Dorothea Röschmann (Pamina). In Martin Kušej’s Zurich production from 2007, he imagines his Magic Flute as a (bad) dream among the traumatised and the oppressed.
We show Kenneth Branagh’s version. The British director, best known for his original and imaginative film adaptations of Shakespeare, set his 2006 version of the story in the 20th century, in the First World War, with the soldier Tamino undertaking a perilous journey to rescue Pamina. “We wanted to use the scope of the cinema to do things that can’t be done on stage, to make this an all-embracing experience for a new opera audience,” said he.