The first mega-hit of Barrie Kosky’s tenure, this deliriously entertaining Zauberflöte is done in the style of an animated silent film. His collaboration with the British theater troupe 1927 (Suzanna Andrade and Paul Barritt), seems destined to become a classic.
As a production as heavily reliant on projections as Robert LePage’s outings at the Met (La Damnation de Faust, The Ring Cycle) have been, it is certainly a first for Berlin. There is no “machine” to speak of, but simply a hard blank screen that covers the entire proscenium and is outfitted with perches at various heights that allows characters to make their entrances and exits. It is all the more clever for seeming so very basic and inexpensive to pull off. The animated projections, hand-drawn by Barritt, are inventive and often dazzling. They suggest a variety of influences, including the Fleischer Brothers, Edward Gorey, vintage Disney films, Lyonel Feininger, Henry Darger, Rube Goldberg, M.C. Escher and German Expressionism. The Three Ladies look like streetwalkers out of an Ernst Ludwig Kirchner canvas. Papageno is obviously modeled after Buster Keaton, wearing a porkpie hat and hangdog face. He is often followed around by a black cat, and also hallucinates pink elephants when inebriated. Monostatos is a dead ringer for Nosferatu. The Queen of the Night is a gigantic spider that chases her prey through an ever-turning corridor, a trick that put one in mind of looking through a nickelodeon. Sarastro and his followers are wind-up automatons, often with monkey or duck faces. Throughout, the spoken dialogue is done away with, and Kosky and Andrade project abridged yet faithful texts onto the screen in the form of inter-titles with silent-film piano music accompanying.
FEBRUARY 2014: 13., 22.
MARCH 2014: 7., 15., 18., 24.
APRIL 2014: 3., 13., 17., 21., 25.