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Auckland Arts Festival announces first major show for 2019

A breath-taking, widely-loved and fantastically fun contemporary interpretation of the opera masterpiece, Mozart's The Magic Flute will make its New Zealand debut in the Auckland Arts Festival in March.

Since premiering in 2012, the brilliant and vastly-popular production by Berlin’s Komische Oper, which fuses the virtuosity of live opera with grand-scale, animated tableaux, has blown audiences away, won international opera awards, accumulated rapturous reviews and played to over half a million people in 22 cities across the world.

The Magic Flute is co-directed by Komische Oper’s Artistic Director Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade from outstanding British performance company 1927. Together with animator Paul Barritt, the theatrical masterminds have created a thrilling, imaginative new world for the most performed opera of all time.

The production, in which the film animation interacts with superb live singers, evokes the enchantment of Buster Keaton’s silent movies, the dark underbelly of Tim Burton and Nosferatu, and the whimsy and humour of early animated cartoons like Felix the Cat and Betty Boop.

Billows of smoke that morph into images, giant spiders, elephants splashing around in cocktail glasses, flying flutes, dancing bells and a really big monster…nothing is impossible in this unique blend of German expressionism and British humour, of cabaret and music hall, and of animation and live performance.

To bring home the scale of this epic event, a cast and crew of over 120 people will travel to Aotearoa with the show.

The original The Magic Flute has played to sell out audiences since it was first staged in 1791, eight weeks before Mozart’s death. On one level it is a fairy tale of a damsel in distress and the handsome prince who rescues her, however, beneath the surface, the story explores the layers of human experience, the quest for enlightenment and the search for knowledge, justice, wisdom and truth.

Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Bielski says, “This show is an absolute knock-out. After its incredibly successful run across the world, there was no way we couldn’t include it in our 2019 Festival. It is a show for everyone and anyone, from young people to seasoned theatre-goers, and the fact that it is opera should not be a deterrent. Rather, a reason to go. It is inventive, hilarious and simply outstanding.”

Kosky says, “Our production is one to which you can take everyone from your Grandparents to your kids. I thought Berlin audiences reacted very positively to it – it’s almost become a cult production there, with some people having seen it six or seven times – until I went to Los Angeles, where they were absolutely screaming with laughter. It also works well for seasoned opera audiences who are largely sick to death of The Magic Flute and delighted they can experience a fresh interpretation.”

The Magic Flute will headline the 2019 Auckland Arts Festival. It plays 8 to 10 March 2019 at the Aotea Centre’s ASB Theatre.

Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.

The full AAF 2019 programme will be announced later this year.

© Scoop Media

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