Washington National Opera: The Magic Flute

Saturday, May 3, 2014 - Sunday, May 18, 2014

A love-struck prince sets out on a fantastic adventure to rescue the Queen of the Night's daughter in Mozart's final opera. This "zesty and imaginative new production" (San Francisco Chronicle) is certain to captivate audiences of all ages.


$25.00 - $305.00

Run Time:

Approx. 3 hours

This event has already closed.
Please use the event calendar to search for current events.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's
The Magic Flute
(Die Zauberflöte)
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
New production
Co-production with San Francisco Opera Association, Opera Omaha, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Opera Carolina
A prince's quest leads to love at first sight--but to prove his worth in marriage, he must first survive trials of wisdom and devotion. Lost in a faraway land, young Tamino is enlisted by the Queen of the Night to rescue her lovely daughter Pamina from the hands of Sarastro, an evil sorcerer. With the aid of a magic flute and the bumbling, lovelorn Papageno by his side, Tamino sets out on a fantastic adventure filled with danger and temptation, culminating in one final test at a mystical temple.
Mozart's final opera, The Magic Flute is simultaneously a delightful fairy tale and a profound reflection on spiritual enlightenment. Sung in English--and featuring a colorful kaleidoscope of sets and costumes by Japanese American artist Jun Kaneko--it's also a perfect opera for the entire family. American director Harry Silverstein, whose The Marriage of Figaro wowed WNO audiences in 2010, directs an attractive young cast, many in their WNO debuts. Conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin, this "zesty and imaginative new production" (San Francisco Chronicle) is guaranteed to captivate audiences of all ages.
"A feast for the eyes, a feast for the ears… a masterpiece of conception and execution!"
--Opera Today

The Queen of the Night: Kathryn Lewek (5/3, 8, 11, 18), Anna Siminska (5/5, 7, 10, 15, 17)
Pamina: Eri Nakamura (5/5, 7, 10, 17), Maureen McKay (5/3, 8, 11, 15, 18)
Tamino: Joseph Kaiser (5/3, 8, 11, 15, 18), Paul Appleby (5/5, 7, 10, 17)
Papageno: Joshua Hopkins (5/3, 8, 11, 15, 18), David Pershall (5/5, 7, 10, 17)
Sarastro: Soloman Howard (5/3, 5, 7, 10), Jordan Bisch (5/8, 11, 15, 17, 18)

Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance: Fri., May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Cast for this performance:
Shantelle Przybylo as Pamina; Kathryn Lewek as Queen of the Night; Patrick O'Halloran as Tamino; Norman Garrett as Papageno; Soloman Howard as Sarastro; Jacqueline Echols as 1st Lady; Sarah Mesko as 2nd Lady; Deborah Nansteel as 3rd Lady; John Easterlin as Monostatos; Ashley Emerson as Papagena; David Pittsinger as Speaker; James Shaffran as 1st Priest; Corey Evan Rotz as 2nd Priest; Yi Li as 1st Armed Man; Wei Wu as 2nd Armed Man. 

Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Director: Harry Silverstein
Lighting Designer: Paul Pyant
Set & Costume Designer: Jun Kaneko
Adaptation: Kelley Rourke
Choreographer: Karma Camp

Performed in English with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.


Musicologist Saul Lilienstein leads the Thursday, May 8 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes.Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of The Magic Flute.
--May 3 at 6 p.m.: Kelley Rourke (Adaptation), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--May 5 at 6 p.m.: Paul Taylor (Technical Director), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--May 7 at 6:30 p.m.: Michael Heaston
--May 8 at 6:15 p.m.: Saul Lilienstein
--May 10 at 6 p.m.: Ken Weiss
--May 11 at 1 p.m.: Philippe Auguin (Conductor/WNO Music Director), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--May 15 at 6:30 p.m.: Ken Weiss
--May 16 at 6:30 p.m.: Michael Heaston
--May 17 at 6 p.m.: Soloman Howard (Sarastro), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen
--May 18 at 1 p.m.: Garnett Bruce (Associate Director), interviewed by Andrew Jorgensen

Following these performances:
Monday evening, May 5
Sunday matinees, May 11 & 18
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.

Apr. 9–May 19 in the Hall of Nations, 10 a.m. until closing
Experience more of Kaneko's artistry in this exhibition of ceramic sculptures from his series of HEADS, Dangos, and Tanuki.


Performance Timing: Act I - 74 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 89 min. (Approx. 3 hours)

The Magic Flute Synopsis


Tamino, a prince, is pursued by a serpent and faints. Three Ladies slay the serpent, then exit to report to the Queen of the Night. Waking, Tamino meets Papageno, who allows Tamino believe that he killed the serpent. The Ladies reappear to set the record straight and to show the prince a portrait of the Queen's daughter, Pamina. The Queen herself arrives, describing her daughter's abduction by the evil wizard Sarastro. Inspired, Tamino agrees to rescue Pamina.  The Ladies forgive Papageno's lies and present Tamino and Papageno with a magic flute and bells to assist them on their quest.


In Sarastro's realm, Papageno discovers Pamina, who is being held by Monastatos, and explains that Tamino is on his way to rescue her. Outside the temple, Tamino meets the enigmatic Speaker, who questions Tamino's understanding of the situation but finally allows him to enter. Meanwhile, Papageno and Pamina are apprehended by Monastatos, whom they enchant with the bells. When Sarastro appears, Pamina begs him to allow her to return to her mother; Sarastro warns that the Queen is an inappropriate influence. Monastatos enters, having captured Tamino. To Monastatos' surprise, Sarastro orders a beating not for Tamino, but for Monastatos. Sarastro instructs the members of the brotherhood to prepare for the great task ahead.

Intermission (20 minutes


Sarastro, who presides over the mysterious brotherhood believes that Tamino is the key to the order's revitalization and proposes that he be allowed to undergo the initiatory trials. Tamino readily accepts the challenge; Papageno is reluctant, but eventually agrees. The first trial-keeping silent-immediately proves a struggle for Papageno.

Meanwhile, Monastatos prepares to force himself on Pamina, but flees when the Queen appears. She orders Pamina to kill Sarastro. Monastatos, eavesdropping, returns and threatens blackmail, but Sarastro, overhearing, banishes Monastatos. Sarastro then counsels Pamina that compassion is a better choice than vengeance.

The trial of silence continues: Pamina is brought before Tamino, who steadfastly refuses to respond to her increasingly anguished pleas. Sarastro congratulates Tamino for passing the test, then instructs him to say farewell to Pamina, who reacts with understandable confusion and dismay. Papageno tells the Speaker he is through with trials, but when left alone, he reconsiders-a wife would be nice, he thinks. An old woman appears; when Papageno accepts her, she is transformed into the beautiful Papagena, only to be whisked away by the Speaker.

Pamina, distraught over Tamino's apparent rejection of her, contemplates suicide, but the three Spirits stop her and reunited her with Tamino. Together, Tamino and Pamina undergo the trials of fire and water, promising that nothing will ever divide them. The assembly rejoices at their success.

Papageno, blaming himself for Papagena's disappearance, prepares to kill himself, but the Spirits step in to reintroduce her.

Monastatos, the Ladies, and the Queen make a final attempt to destroy Sarastro and the brotherhood, which proves unsuccessful. Everyone celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.

Watch and Listen

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 1 of 8: Overture and Introduction (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 2 of 8: A Bird-catcher and the Star-flaming Queen (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 3 of 8: Instruments of magic for a mission of rescue (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 4 of 8: Act One Finale (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 5 of 8: The Singspiel, popular art, and Schikaneder (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 6 of 8: Nobility, coloratura madness, lyric pathos, an magic (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 7 of 8: The trials of fire and water (audio only)

WNO Commentary: The Magic Flute 8 of 8: The triumph of reason and virtue (audio only)

M&M’S Opera in the Outfield Trailer

The Magic Flute Trailer

This event has already closed.

Please use the event calendar to search for current events.

All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.

All ticket prices are subject to change based on demand. Purchase early to lock in prices and the best seats!