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The Magic Flute

The staging of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the National Theatre was ahead of its time. The way in which it was conceived by Svoboda and Bohumil Hrdlička was so extraordinary that, among the other realistic opera repertoire, it was literally explosive. Schikaneder’s libretto is open to various interpretations, and Svoboda and Hrdlička opted for the non-fantasy version – an allegory of power and suffering, of good and evil. In 1957, this timeless parable was a daring concept, as the objective “evil” included not only the Nazi concentration camps but also the Soviet gulags. The final stage design concept for the production became the empty black stage space, interrupted by jutting segments of old sets, which were visibly associated with some certain event, a personality trait of one of the characters, or an attribute of the environment – the confrontation between visual styles and the mutual disproportion between them created tension on the stage as well as a staging effect. The main symbol for the production became the “luminous” target, beneath which the lovers Pamina and Tamino embraced.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: THE MAGIC FLUTE / KOUZELNÁ FLÉTNA
The National Theatre Prague
premiere: 18. 1. 1957
director: Bohumil Hrdlička
conductor: Jaroslav Krombholc
costume designer: Josef Svoboda

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