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The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute

February 22 — February 27, 8:00 p.m.Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Robert Neu, stage director
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Pacific Symphony

Robin Walsh, puppet designer
Katie Wilson, costume designer
Ora Jewell-Busche, wig and make-up designer
Kathy Pryzgoda, lighting designer

MOZART:  The Magic Flute

Spotify Playlist

Preview Talk at 7 p.m. with host Alan Chapman. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.  
Sung in German with English supertitles. Dialog in English.

One of Mozart’s most popular operas, The Magic Flute is a fairy tale about love telling the story of Tamino and Papageno, a prince and bird catcher tasked by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the confinements of a mysterious high priest. Prepare yourself for an evening filled with magic, comedy and some of opera’s greatest arias! This semi-staged production includes acting, staging, colorful costumes and larger-than-life puppets that enhance the storytelling. Prepare to be enchanted!

Sung in German with English supertitles. Spoken Dialog in English.


Tamino John Tessier
Papageno Hadleigh Adams
Pamina    Tess Altiveros
Queen of the Night Kathryn Lewek
Sarastro  Evan Boyer
Three Ladies Amy Shoremount-Obra
Deborah Nansteel
Julia Benzinger
Monostatos Julius Ahn
Three Child Spirits Members of Southern California Children’s Chorus
Papagena Bridgette Gan
Speaker of the Temple, Priest, Armed Guard, Slave Colin Ramsey
Priest, Armed Guard, Slave David Guzman

PREVIEW TALK with Alan Chapman:


“The Magic Flute” is Mozart’s final opera and one of his last compositions. It premiered in Vienna in September 1791 and Mozart died a mere two months later.  Despite being sick, hungry, broke and altogether miserable, Mozart’s music is some of the most joyous and beautiful he ever wrote.

The piece is technically termed a “singspiel”—meaning that it combines singing and spoken dialogue—and that means that it’s what we today call a musical. While on the surface “The Magic Flute” and its characters can be considered a bit silly, it is actually an endlessly fascinating work of art.

So many meanings have been attached to this opera: Is it about brotherhood? The meaning of true love? The method for achieving an honorable life? Some feel the work is a philosophical tract about the Age of Enlightenment, some believe it’s a commentary on the French Revolution, some accuse Mozart of purloining Masonic secret rituals. Others argue that it’s a political diatribe aimed against a conservative Austrian government headed by Maria Theresa. There are also theories that the work is inspired by tarot cards or even by the psychosexual beliefs of Carl Jung. (Obviously, the latter is historically impossible.)

Every one of these is fascinating to research but ultimately one has to tell this story in a way that will speak to modern audiences. We like the idea of approaching this largely as an adult fairy tale but with real characters experiencing real emotions. And one of the great advantages of producing opera with Pacific Symphony is that the orchestra can be given its rightful place as a character in the piece. It really is perhaps the character of the opera. Mozart’s amazing writing not only has the orchestra supporting the singers’ emotions, but it oftentimes tells us things that words can’t express. And without giving away too many secrets, the beauty of Segerstrom Concert Hall gives a fantastic jumping off point to offer a feast for the eyes. And when all is said and done, there always is—and always will be—Mozart’s music. A beautiful hall; a world-class orchestra, cast and conductor; this opera; Mozart. What a privilege for every one of us—performers and listeners alike—to be a part of this!

Program Notes

Learn more about the artists and read the synopsis in the program notes.


Digital Program Notes: Notestream has partnered with Pacific Symphony to bring you digital program notes in an easy-to-read format on your iPhone or iPad. The NoteStream app includes all the notes you'll find in the program book as well as images and videos. Use the unique "Tap to Listen" feature and Siri herself will read the notes to you! READ DIGITAL PROGRAM NOTES on NoteStream