San Francisco Opera's
Magical New 'Flute'
The dictionary does not contain enough superlatives to do full justice to describe the awesome new production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at the San Francisco Opera. My partner Mike and I caught the matinee performance on Gay Pride Sunday and both of us highly recommend you catch it before the summer season is over.
We were fearful the colorful abstract video projection of crayons slowly creating patterns during the overture would prove distracting. Our fears vanished as the show went on and the projections gave depth to the storytelling and perfectly contrasted with the delightfully zany costumes.
Japanese artist Jun Kaneko served as the production designer and also was responsible for designing the costumes. Kaneko brilliantly unified the visual elements pushing this "Flute" into a spectacle to marvel at.
Sung in English with super-titles appearing above the stage, all of the subplots, occasional jokes and lyrics were easy to understand making the action and antics fun to follow.
The cast over all had wonderful voices and terrific acting skills, putting an extra layer of fabulousness for audience to revel in.
Russian diva Albina Shagimuratova, pictured, was the stand-out singer as the Queen of the Night. She put to shame all the queens across Van Ness Avenue celebrating Pride on a gloriously sunny San Francisco afternoon.
When Shagimuratova made her first act appearance, a girl maybe ten-years-old in the row in front of us turned to her father with a question. "Daddy, what is that thing the Queen has on her head?" she asked, making Mike and I break out in smiles because we also wondered what the crown was made of.
Shagimuratova put the audience into a rapturous state of bliss and almost lifted the opera house roof up, up and away with her rendition of the Queen of the Night's aria. Needless to say, Shagimuratova received the most thunderous applause at the end.
A week after seeing "Flute", I am still full of absolute and intense happiness recalling the magic of Mozart's score brought to life by the San Francisco Opera's magnificent orchestra. I am not the sort of culture vulture who automatically engages in standing ovations at the end of performances, but as soon as the curtain came down at this "Flute" I was on my feet cheering and applauding.
There are only two more performances on July 6 at 8 p.m. and July 8 at 2 p.m., and tickets are still available for both shows. Don't miss this chance to experience genuine cultural and aural euphoria. Click here for ticket information.
(Photo credit: Cory Weaver.)