CULTURE

Endlessly appealing‘Magic Flute’ on soon

Sir Neville Marriner, speaking at a press conference last week, described the last hours of rehearsals a few days before the opening of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera «The Magic Flute,» as «a party.» The well-known British maestro will take the baton for six of 20 scheduled performances of the popular opera, which opens at the Athens Concert Hall on Wednesday and runs to December 28. Joining Marriner is an international ensemble of prominent artists, who intend to freshen up «The Magic Flute’s» already lively characters, in a production intended to appeal to the young and old. The opera features Greek soloists and five performances have been adapted for younger audiences. «’The Magic Flute’ is nothing more than a great musical. The opera’s idea is based on the notion that justice will one day prevail,» noted Michael Hampe, the production’s director, adding that «never has so much been written about a work of opera.» Hampe went on to present the work’s storyline and talked extensively about the variety of interpretations given to this specific work by Mozart scholars. «This is the first time we have scheduled so many performances; it’s an important experiment,» said Nikos Tsouchlos, creative director of the Athens Concert Hall. Based on a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, the two-act opera first opened at Vienna’s Theater auf der Wieden in September 1791. The work immediately met with great success and has since enchanted children and adults alike. The story focuses on the quest for pure love and how to achieve the three fundamental virtues of freemasonry: power, beauty and wisdom. The intriguing plot coupled with the ambiguous characters and the opulent music show why the work has appealed for so long. The opera’s myth represents the eternal struggle between good and bad, as personified in the characters of high priest Sarastro and the Queen of Night, respectively. The impressive set for the Athens Concert Hall was created by Hans Schavernoch, with costumes by Martin Rupprecht and lighting by Hans Toelstede. The cast includes Rainer Trost, Sune Hjerrild, Johannes Mannov, Yan Guang Cui, Elizabeth Vidal, Rachel Harnisch, Simona Houda-Saturova and Wolfgang Schone. The Camerata will be conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and Vassilis Christopoulos. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vassilissis Sofias, tel 210.728.2333. Performances adapted for children have been scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and December 15, 23 and 26 at 5 p.m. Advanced reservations are recommended.