Director Simon McBurney makes his Met Opera debut May 19 with a new production of Die Zauberflöte (in English, The Magic Flute). Mozart's final opera, and one of his most popular, tells the story of the prince Tamino, who is sent on a quest by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the clutches of Sarastro. Tamino is accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno, and they are given a magic flute and magic bells to aid them. When they get to Sarastro's temple, however, they discover that not all is as it appears. Get a first look at McBurney's new production below.
Tenor Lawrence Brownlee, an acclaimed bel canto specialist, stars as Tamino, his first Mozart role with the Metropolitan Opera. Soprano Erin Morley, seen earlier this Met season as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, plays Pamina. Baritone Thomas Oliemans makes his Met debut as Papageno. Soprano Kathryn Lewek returns as the Queen of the Night, having performed the role 44 times at the Met since her house debut in 2013, more than any other performer in the history of the company. She will reach her 50th Met performance in the role during this run.
Rounding out the cast are bass Stephen Milling as Sarastro, tenor Brenton Ryan as Monostasos, and bass Harold Wilson as the Speaker of the Temple. Alexandria Shiner, Olivia Vote, and Tamara Mumford play the Three Ladies who serve the Queen of the Night, and Richard Bernstein and Errin Duane Brooks play the two Priests and Armored Men. Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, having just made her Met debut with Ivo van Hove's new production of Don Giovanni, pulls double Mozart duty as she also conducts Die Zauberflöte.
McBurney's production raises the orchestra pit, allowing musicians in the Metr Orchestra to become a part of the action, as in when, instead of playing the magic flute himself, Tamino brings Met Opera principal flautist Seth Morris onto the stage to play it. The production also includes an on-stage foley artist.
The creative team for Die Zauberflöte includes scenic designer Michael Levine, costume designer Nicky Gillibrand, lighting designer Jean Kalman, projection designer Finn Ross, and sound designer Gareth Fry.
Although the premiere of a new production of an opera usually means retiring the company's previous production, the Metropolitan Opera will retain its previous production of The Magic Flute, directed by Tony winner Julie Taymor, for its abridged English holiday production of the opera, set to return next season.