• April 17, 2012 /  Reviews, Stuff

    The picture above is from “Prinz Tamino”, a beautiful book by Michael Sowa. The book has the sub-title “Märchen und Papiertheater nach Mozarts Zauberflöte” (“Fairy Tale and Paper Theater based on…”). The picture is actually of one of the pages (of heavy card stock) that comprise the paper theater. The figures may be punched out and you can put on your own Magic Flute paper production.
    And the fairy tale is fun too. It is indeed an abbreviated version of the Flute with the whole cast of characters. But best are the wonderful illustrations by Sowa. Here are a couple of images from the book.
    The first is Tamino meeting the Queen of the Night and the second is the entrance to the trial by fire. Really great. And there are many, many other wonderful images of characters and settings in the book.
    The text is in German. But even if you can’t read the story you will delight in the illustrations and, of course, the paper theater!
    Michael Sowa
    Märchen und Papiertheater nach
    Mozarts Zauberflöte
    mit einem Capriccio von Eckhard Henscheid
    published by Aufbau-Verlag GmbH, Berlin 2000
    ISBN 3-351-04002-4

  • February 28, 2009 /  Reviews

    Perhaps I should say film adaptations. There are many fine “filmed” Zauberflöte productions available. I will be looking at some of these in later reviews. But the two films I want to explore here use the medium to do more with the opera than just provide a record of a stage production.
    A somewhat radical take on The Magic Flute is the version adapted and directed by Kenneth Branagh with an english libretto by Stephen Fry. I will be writing my thoughts on this film in a later post. The subject of this post is the adaptation by Ingmar Bergman.

    I saw Ingmar Bergman’s “Trollflöjten” shortly after its US theatrical release in November, 1975. The film was originally made for Swedish television and premiered there on new year’s day of the same year. It is not an exaggeration to say that this viewing is the reason I now have a web-site dedicated to this opera. It was through this film that I discovered The Magic Flute. Even though it was over thirty years ago I can remember the sense of absolute enchantment I felt then. Yes, it is in Swedish. And, yes, liberties have been taken with the story. But this film is still one of the best (arguably, the best) filmed versions of The Magic Flute.
    Read the rest of this entry »