Magic Flute Review – Lyric’s Musical Gift to Whole Family


Magic Flute Review – Lyric’s Musical Gift to Whole Family


Tamino, Charles Castronovo

If you’ve read any of the glowing reviews of Lyric’s production of Mozart’s Magic Flute, you’ve already been advised that this opera is the perfect introduction to the opera for young children, and the perfect Holiday entertainment for the entire family. I wholeheartedly agree!


Tamino and the "Ladies," Elizabeth Meister, Cecelia Hall, Katherine Lerner

Consider the convergence of all these delightful elements in one work of art: Mozart’s incredible music coupled with his mischievous nature added to the stunning, vintage production and topped off with an incomparable cast and orchestra. Ah, but those are just facts. The artistry, the wizardry, the layers of imagery, the sheer magic of it all is beyond prose. Gather your family together and bring them to see this charming, romp of an opera and you, too, will be challenged to capture its poetry into words.


"The Ladies" and Papageno, Stéphane Degout

Nicole Cabell is perfectly cast.  Her voice is Pamina’s voice.  Her presence is Pamina’s. And her love for handsome, noble, brave Charles Castronovo’s Tamino  is sincere, devoted, courageous. We’re cheering them on through all their trials and challenges.  However, we’re also caught up in the inventive, hilarious antics of Papageno (Stéphane Degout), the bird catcher and a variety of savory and unsavory characters. 


Tamino (Charles Castronovo) and Pamina (Nicole Cabell) together at last

After all, this IS opera.  A preposterous plot is de rigueur. Fans of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, and Star Trek alike will be engaged in the strategy, the connivances, cleverness and unpredictability of this cast of characters.


The Three Little Mozarts Aloft

Another thing you can expect from Lyric Opera is fantastic staging.  Thanks to the ingenious use of layered sheer scrims, stunning lighting, pyrotechnics, projections and who knows what else?, the vision on the stage shimmers, undulates and morphs from one impossible place to another.  Yet the whole time, it feels as though you’re simply turning the pages in a beautiful children’s book (maybe on a humongous iPad). All this becomes even more astonishing when you realize that the original set was designed and painted 25 years ago.  Set Designer Jörg Zimmerman and Lighting Designer Jason Brown deserve high praise for their high-tech embellishments, transformations and otherworldly creations.

 Want a preview?  Let Renée Fleming, Lyric’s Creative Consultant, tell you more about Magic Flute

 Want to know what a couple members of the audience thought about Magic Flute? Here’s what they had to say:

 Holly K, “Love it.  Scenery. Whimsy. Costuming.” Holly’s son was introduced to Magic Flute in second grade when he came home with a CD of the opera. Now a senior in high school, it’s still a favorite of his.

 Jackie K, “Heard an ad stating that Magic Flute was a good second choice to the Nutcracker. It’s my first choice—it’s so child-friendly.

Want to take the family to the Magic Flute? Here’s some helpful information on how to do just that:

 Lyric Opera of Chicago, performing in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House, is located on the northwest corner of Madison and Wacker in downtown Chicago. 

All ticket-holders are encouraged to arrive early for an engaging and informative pre-opera lecture. Lectures begin one hour prior to curtain for each performance (except Opening Night).

Buy tickets, get detailed information on Lyric's dining options and nearby restaurants, driving directions, and parking and transit information, information on opera running times, advance reservations for valet parking, and special hotel rates for out-of-town guests at Lyric’s website,


Photos: Dan Rest

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