Mozart´s Flute Plays On
Review by Willard Manus

LOS ANGELES--When Los Angeles Opera first produced, in 1993, the Peter
Hall/Gerald Scarfe version of THE MAGIC FLUTE, it came off as too much
of a cartoon--Lion King meets Mozart. Not this time, though. Scarfe's
outlandish costumes--hybrid animals, a Disney- like dragon, a Black Widow Queen of the Night--now seem organic to the production, which sparkled and captivated from beginning to end.

With Stanley M. Garner redirecting Hall's original work, Lawrence Foster conducting, and a cast packed with first-rate singers, Los Angeles Opera delivered a rare and memorable production. Michael Schade as Tamino led the way, not only as a singer but actor, delineating Tamino's journey from arrogant prince to compassionate leader with ease and truth. Soprano Andrea Rost (in her local debut) matched Schade note for note and made a fetching Pamina as well.

Rodney Gilfry as the irreverent, down-to-earth Papageno, Greg Fedderly as the baddy Monostratos, and Sumi Jo as Queen of the Night were equally
outstanding, as were Scott Wyatt as the First Priest, Robin Follman,
Cynthia Jansen and Suzanna Guzman as the elegantly-clad Three Ladies.
Shana Blake Hill also made an impact in her brief role as Papagena.

William Vendice's Los Angeles Opera Chorus was in strong and lilting voice as well.

THE MAGIC FLUTE is a tricky mixture of fairy tale, meditation on equality and humanity, and love story. Come down too heavily on one side of the triangle and the production can tip over and crash. Explore all three sides in a skilful and magical way, and you'll have a triumph to offer the public.

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., through April 6.
Call (213) 365-3500.