All too often, when an opera house invests in a new production of a repertory favorite, the previous production gets tossed, no matter how distinguished. In 2019, the Staatsoper unter den Linden ordered up a new Magic Flute from the red-hot Yuval Sharon, who treated the singers like puppets and gave the spoken dialogue to children, who were heard over loudspeakers. In all honesty, the photographs look pretty spiffy, but the consensus on the street was scorching. If you want to check Die Zauberflöte (Sharon), you’ll have your next chance in March. Meanwhile, here is Die Zauberflöte (Everding), cheered at its premiere in 1994 and impossible to improve upon. Integral to its impact are the peerless designs of the Prussian architect and city planner Karl Friedrich Schinkel, drawn up in 1816, a mere quarter century after the opera’s premiere. Still, a story never plays itself. In the hands of August Everding, a director and impresario of legendary authority, Mozart’s cast of storybook characters are very, very much alive. In the current revival, Matthias Goerne sings Sarastro, embodying the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment. Caroline Wettergreen is the Queen of the Night, Sarastro’s glittering, anarchic foil. As the predestined lovers Tamino and Pamina, it falls to Siyabonga Maqungo and Evelin Novak to choose between their elders’ two worlds. —M.G.
Staatsoper Unter den Linden Unter den Linden 7, 10117 Berlin, Germany Get Directions »