Rehearsals begin for New Zealand Opera’s new production

The countdown begins for the premiere of a bold new production of The Magic Flute as the company gathers in Auckland for rehearsals.

The Magic Flute tells the mythical tale of Prince Tamino seeking to save his beloved Pamina from the clutches of her evil mother, Queen of Night. It is a story of love conquering all, adventure, comedy, magic and good versus evil, all brought together by Mozart’s extraordinary score.

This marks the second stage of preparations, with the production concept, sets, props and costumes almost complete by the time the rehearsals begin.

The Magic Flute is directed by Arts Laureate Sara Brodie and features sets and props by John Verryt, costumes by Elizabeth Whiting and Lisa Holmes and lighting by Paul Lim. NZ Opera’s Director of Music Wyn Davies conducts Orchestra Wellington and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

“Touchstones have been ‘the universal’, Tamino’s surreal dream, a journey from darkness to light and embracing the magic of this Zauber opera,” says Brodie.

Brodie says she is looking forward to working with a “dynamite cast” which includes current Dame Malvina Major Young Artist Emma Fraser as Pamina, bass Wade Kernot as Sarastro and three singers making their New Zealand debuts - American tenor Randall Bills (Tamino), Australian Baritone Samuel Dundas (Papageno) and British soprano Ruth Jenkins-Róbertsson (Queen of Night).

“The rehearsal room is what I like to think of as a sacred space, where it is my job to create an environment where performers feel safe to explore and make discoveries about their characters.  I then work with that and meld it to fit with the big picture.  It is a collaborative process which I particularly adore working alongside conductor Wyn Davies, who cares so very much about the story telling.”

While audiences can anticipate some surprises on stage, Brodie says “We are staying true to the Zauber (magic) opera form and the comedic.”

“It is most certainly a comedy but one which is subliminal and sublime.  Sublime is certainly how I think about the music of Flute and that Mozart intended to immerse us in his most divine harmonies, most ecstatic coloratura and sacred hymns, in this his final opera, which is most certainly a masterpiece.”

The Magic Flute premieres in at the St James in Wellington on 28 May, before transferring to Auckland’s Aotea Centre for a season opening on 16 June.

The Magic Flute will be performed in English and combines singing and spoken dialogue.

The Magic Flute

WELLINGTON: St James Theatre
28 May, 2 & 4 June at 7.30pm
31 May at 6pm
Tickets via Ticketek
AUCKLAND: ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
16, 18, 22 & 24 June at 7.30pm
26 June at 2.30pm
Tickets via Ticketmaster