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A King of the Night

06/29/2012 -  & January 27, 31, February 7, 15, March 1, 9, 22, 30, 2013
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K. 620
Andreas Daum (Sarastro), Jörg Schneider (Tamino), Sebastian Holecek (Sprecher), Thomas Sigwald (Zweiter Priester), Jennifer O’Loughlin (Königin der Nacht), Andrea Bogner (Pamina), Elisabeth Flechl (Erste Dame), Adrineh Simonian (Zweite Dame), Alexandra Kloose (Dritte Dame), Wiener Sängerknaben (Die drei Knaben), Renée Schüttengruber (Papagena), Clemens Unterreiner (Papageno), Wolfgang Gratschmaier (Monostatos), Otoniel Gonzaga (Erster Geharnischter), Florian Spies (Zweiter Geharnischter)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Vienna Volksoper, Thomas Böttcher (chorus master), Enrico Dovico (conductor)
Helmut Lohmer (director), Johan Engels (set design), Marie-Jeanne Lecca (costumes), Friedrich Rom (light design)

(© Dimo Dimov/Volksoper Vienna)

The Vienna Volksoper closed the official part of its 2011/12 season with a delightful performance of Mozart’s Zauberflöte. This production was premiered for the 2006 Mozart year celebration at the Volksoper. The famous Austrian actor Helmut Lohner as stage director gave this Zauberflöte a distinct Viennese flavor. He steered clear of much of the symbolism associated with Mozart’s masterwork. Instead, Lohner’s Zauberflöte was an easily accessible, though never shallow tale about truth, persistence and love. This production was entertainment at its best. Whether young or old, from Vienna or from far away, opera connoisseur or novice: everybody in the audience seemed to have had a good time.

Johan Engels had designed a functional, but effective and visually appealing set. Round wall segments were moved around the stage, allowing easy changes of scenery. Enhanced by Friedrich Rom’s colorful light design, the sets evoked an Alice in Wonderland atmosphere. Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s imaginative costumes were mostly inspired by the fashion of the late 1900s.

Jörg Schneider’s voice may be already beyond Tamino. His almost Wagnerian timbre was impressive. Andrea Bogner, on the other hand, does not quite have the necessary depth in her voice for a convincing Pamina. However, her keen sense of phrasing and some incredibly touching pianissimo passages in the 2nd Act made for a heartfelt interpretation. Andreas Daum’s Sarastro sometimes lacked the necessary power in the lower registers. Jennifer O’Loughlin as Queen of the Night delivered a solid, almost flawless performance. However, this performance of Mozart’s Zauberflöte had definitely also a “King of the Night” singing Papageno. Clemens Unterreiner not only possesses a warm and powerful baritone, but also an excellent stage presence that infects the audience with his joy of performing.

Three boys from the Vienna Boy’s Choir performed the “Drei Knaben”. It is always astounding to experience this high level of performance from children. All the smaller roles were excellent, as was the Chorus of the Vienna Volksoper. Except for some mishaps at the beginning, the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, under the experienced direction of Enrico Dovico, played a straightforward, thoroughly enjoyable performance of Mozart’s Zauberflöte.

We look forward to the next season at the Vienna Volksoper. Marco Arturo Marelli will stage Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in November 2012. In February 2013 there will be a new Bartered Bride by Smetana, staged by Helmut Baumann, in April 2013 a new Wildschütz by Lortzing with Dietrich Hilsdorf as stage director. It wouldn’t be the Volksoper without staples of operetta and musicals on the menu: in the coming season we look forward to new stagings of Oscar Straus’ Ein Walzertraum, Cole Porter’s Kiss me Kate and Paul Lincke’s Frau Luna. The Ballet of the Vienna Volksoper will present three new programs. The Volksoper will pay tribute to Richard Wagner on his 200th birthday in 2013 with “Wagner’s Ring in One Evening”, a humorous approach to Wagner’s monumental work by the late German comedian Victor von Bülow.

Volksoper Vienna

Wiebke Kuester



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