Sarah Shafer and Paul Appleby Star in 'The Magic Flute'

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Paul Appleby stars as Tamino in a scene from Mozart’s 'The Magic Flute.' Paul Appleby stars as Tamino in a scene from Mozart’s 'The Magic Flute.' (Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

This Saturday, Sarah Shafer and Paul Appleby star in Mozart's charming opera, 'The Magic Flute,' from the San Francisco Opera.

This production features Paul Appleby as Tamino, Sarah Shafer as Pamina, Albina Shagimuratova as Queen of the Night, Efraín Solís as Papageno, and Alfred Reiter as Sarastro.


Pamina: Sarah Shafer
Tamino: Paul Appleby
Papageno: Efraín Solís
Sarastro: Alfred Reiter
The Queen of the Night: Albina Shagimuratova
Monostatos: Greg Fedderly
First Lady: Jacqueline Piccolino
Second Lady: Nian Wang
Third Lady: Zanda Švēde
Papagena: Maria Valdes
The Speaker: Anthony Reed
First Priest: Richard Walker
Second Priest: Edward Nelson
First Boy: Michael Sacco
Second Boy: Pietro Juvara
Third Boy: Rafael Karpa-Wilson
First Armored Man: Chong Wang
Second Armored Man: Anthony Reed

San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Lawrence Foster, conductor

Comments [6]

Les from Miami, Florida

Exaggerating the light-heartedness of Papageno and Papagena to the point of buffoonery to the exclusion of the Masonic allegory and alchemic union of the sexes as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment (see M.F.M. Van Den Berk's "Die Zauberflo"te: An Alchemical Allegory") is the equivalent of drawing a mustache on the "Mona Lisa" and believing that "Ai"da" is primarily about hundreds of people and elephants on stage during the "Triumphal Scene". Mozart, who created Sarastro --- he wasn't in Schikaneder's play --- clearly had a spiritual-philosophical idea in mind inasmuch as Sarastro sings "In Diesen heilgen hallen" that there's no meaning of revenge in these sacred halls. Further, the world-weariness of the two Armored Men evoke mankind's mortality to the point of fearfulness. Witness also the choral passage that concludes Act I. (Erich Leinsdorfl's translation in "Erich Leinsdorf on Music": "When virtue and justice cover the path of the Great with fame, then earth will be like heaven and humans like the gods." Surely there's nothing of the comic in that. I think all of us are combinations to greater or lesser degrees of Tamino-Pamina and Papageno-Papagena, but the placing of emphasis on the supposed nonsensical/comic/cartoonish content of the work is a great mistake that does neither justice to Mozart or to the opera company that staged it as such. The photo was off-putting: it looks more like a scene from the children's t.v. show "H.R. Pufn'stuff" of several years ago. I would have liked to have heard these relatively young singers and the interpretation of Lawrence Foster, but I couldn't bring myself to listen for all the above reasons.

Sep. 11 2016 09:09 AM

On 'improving' Mozart: I say. bring it on! ZF never was 'high art', it's a giggle. Mozart was only sometimes the grand composer on the immortal tower--he was also the 18th-centuries' Michael Jackson. The music (and especially the Queen-of-the-Night-signature aria(s)) were perfect in the sense that one could not imagine how changing them a single bit would be an improvement (whence the applause).
So let it rest. Z was never 'high art'. The company and singers played all the notes, and that is plenty--all anyone deserves.
Personally, I loved the design, and looked up other images of the production. A google search of zauberflaute (images) will show several other imaginative and entrancing visualizations of this transcendent masonic fantasy.

Sep. 10 2016 05:00 PM
Larry Eisenberg from New York City

The plot each listener annoys
But the Music makes one rejoice,
Magic Flute on the whole
Is pure joy for the soul.
Operatically, a Rolls Royce!

Sep. 10 2016 03:00 PM

this masonic singspiel doesn't work in English. Albina is a great singer but the queen is way beyond her.

Sep. 10 2016 01:51 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Nick from Tampa is absolutely right.

Sep. 10 2016 01:08 PM
Nick from Tampa

Why are some opera producers feel compelled to "improve" Mozart? This latest staging resembles a gross comic strip! The audience's attention takes the focus away from the music and performers. It'as if the audience is so bored with a traditional "The Magic Flute", it must be offered something

Sep. 10 2016 10:13 AM

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