Feedback from the premiere of "Die Zauberflöte"
18 Mar 2024Bulgarian National Radio

Feedback from the premiere of "Die Zauberflöte"

The Sofia National Opera presented its second new production for 2024 – Mozart's opera "Die Zauberflöte" directed by Vera Petrova.

At a meeting with journalists on the eve of the premiere, both the production team and the performers of the main roles hinted that we were in for some surprises in an unconventional production. We were indeed watching a production not in the tradition of the fairy tale – classical or contemporary. I would say that Vera Petrova has brought to the fore the joke, the ability to entertain, and in entertaining, to reveal the truth about life and the world. It's as if Papageno is a fool or a witty buffoon leading all the action. And isn't "all the world's a stage", the temple turns out to be a theatre, perhaps an early twentieth century musical theatre, an operetta or variety show. In it, going as a joke through all the vicissitudes, the hearts of the characters are tested, evil is exposed, good triumphs and there is a happy ending. t seems to me that in moving away from the magical fairy tale, in which she has already proven her mastery with Rossini's "Cinderella", in the new production of "Die Zauberflöte" director Vera Petrova has actually sought the modern equivalent of the authentic Singspiel. Moreover, with the style of an artist who is very much "in tune" with contemporary trends on the world's most prestigious opera stages. The spectacle was very dynamic. Very well done to the entire production team: conductor-producer Svetoslav Borisov, set and costume designers Molly O'Cattain and Marta Mironska, lighting and choreography designers Simon Bennison and Riolina Topalova.

I would especially like to mention the excellent work of the conductor Svetoslav Borisov in the fine Mozart repertoire, in which, to make everything sound very easy, one has to rehearse very hard! Among the performers in the lead roles, I was most impressed by the beautiful voice and phrasing of soprano Stefanie Krasteva-Pavlova as Pamina and the overall performance of Polish baritone Grzegorz Sobczak as Papageno – excellent pronunciation, stylish musical interpretation and a captivating stage presence!

The Sofia National Opera had prepared a strong international cast for the four consecutive performances. Two of them were cancelled because of the national mourning in memory of Patriarch Neofit. On March 14th we watched the Hungarian soprano Brigitta Simon as the Queen of the Night, Sunday's performance featured the Czech soprano Lucie Kaňková, and on March 29th Diana Vassileva is scheduled to appear. She made her debut in the role of the Queen of the Night 17 years ago on the stage of the Sofia National Opera, then performed it in five more different productions and says it is her favourite role. It would be very interesting to watch all the ensembles. I wish success to all the soloists! And the premiere performance on 14 March ended with a long and loud applause, so you could say that our National Opera Theatre has started 2024 very successfully with the Bulgarian premiere of Cherubini's opera "Medea" and a new production of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte".