The Magic Flute | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader

The Magic Flute Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Jan. 4, 2 p.m., Fri., Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m., Mon., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m., Wed., Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. and Fri., Jan. 20, 2 p.m. 2012

This production, mercifully devoid of sets augmented by projection tricks, debuted at Lyric Opera in the 1980s and is still magical enough to enchant both the 11-year-old I brought to it and the 11-year-old in me. The opera itself dates to 1791, and it's a heady cocktail of Mozart's music and the comic pranks of librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, the latter much enhanced by Matthew Lata's stage direction (including one linguistic surprise too terrific to spoil here). Mozart's last opera, and more like musical theater, The Magic Flute is the story of a prince on a rescue mission, with a plot full of wizardry, fantastic creatures, and spooky Masonic rites. Soprano Audrey Luna as the Queen of the Night—a role as deliciously nasty as the Wicked Witch of the West and way more difficult—is a tad less fabulous than she might be, but overall the opera is beautifully performed, with especially winning work by baritone Stephane Degout as the prince's birdbrained sidekick, Papageno. Soprano and Lyric training center alum Nicole Cabell is Pamina, the princess in distress; Alek Shrader will take over the tenor role of Prince Tamino from Charles Castronovo beginning January 9. Andrew Davis conducts; the production closes January 22. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $49-$234

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