the magic flute 88.
(photo credit: )
‘Marvelous!” “Excellent!” were the responses of the children at the conclusion
of Mozart’s Magic Flute, presented by the Israeli Opera in a performance for
children, with a wind quintet and a piano substituting for an
The significantly shortened version was reduced to a fairy
tale plot, mercifully omitting the philosophical, pseudophilosophical,
moralizing and sophisticated elements of the libretto. Also omitted,
regrettably, was the opening Picture Aria of Tamino, possibly because it
overtaxed the capabilities of Nimrod Grinboim’s appealing but not particularly
Monastatos was deleted altogether, presumably on the
assumption that his harassment attempts and racial discrimination
might not convey an appropriate educational message to little children.
Tamino and Pamina’s ordeal scenes, perhaps because they were considered
frightening, especially the ordeal of not being permitted to speak. The
Ladies and Three Boys were amalgamated into one threesome, economizing
and womanpower and streamlining the audience’s concentration.
and Niv Manor’s direction and sets were child-friendly without being
and abstract enough to leave room for imagination.
Among the singers,
Lilia Gretsova’s Queen of the Night was the most outstanding.
impeccable virtuoso coloraturas would not have been wasted on an adult
Rinat Goldmann’s lovely soprano made the audience join Tamino in falling
with her as Pamina. Gabriel Lowenheim’s communicative baritone and
humorous acting successfully won the audience’s sympathy. And as
Freedman’s pale bass was less impressive than his sun staff-wielding
Most of the sung texts were hardly intelligible due to unclear
enunciation. What is a Hebrew version good for it isn’t pronounced
the piano’s overly loud hammering did not improve matters.
the Israeli Opera’s performances for children, such as this one, are a
commendable undertaking for ensuring a future adult audience.