Finally - a FLUTE translation that gives Mozart's librettist his due!
Opera companies interested in THE MAGIC FLUTE should see this sparkling translation of Emanuel Schikaneder's DIE ZAUBERFLOTE libretto.

Canadian playwright and director KICO GONZALEZ-RISSO was commissioned by Western Washington University's College of Fine and Performing Arts to put together and direct a new translation of Mozart's famous opera. The goal was a new production to commemorate the Mozart Bicentennial; the result was a sell-out hit which received wide acclaim from audiences and media in Bellingham, Vancouver and Seattle.  (Hear Papageno.  662 kb. wav file)
"This MAGIC FLUTE captures the mystic, fairytale timelessness of the struggle between good and evil in a brilliant new translation faithful to the rhythmic nuances of the original German, yet garbed in new wonder." (Richmond Review)
"Western's MAGIC FLUTE is a first-rate success.... Much to the surprise of cynics, the school has made its MAGIC FLUTE a glittering and occasionally explosive production of first-rate musical merit." (Seattle Times)

"THE MAGIC FLUTE enchanted a capacity crowd at WWU's Performing Arts Center. There's been much fuss about director Kico Gonzalez-Risso's new is quite contemporary in tone and easy to follow." (Bellingham Herald)
"This new translation is very, very successful. It is witty and delightful. It's absolutely excellent." (Bruce Pullan, Musical Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir)

"In other English language productions of the piece, translators have tried to retain the feeling of the era by sprinkling the text with archaic words and phrases, a kind of pseudo-Shakespeare. That kind of stuffiness never shows up in (KG-R's) version." (Bellingham Herald)
What makes this translation special? How does it compare to others? Quite simply, it is the closest that English has come to matching Schikaneder's original German libretto. You'll find that:

First, the KG-R version retains the spirit and humour of Schikaneder: Hear excerpt. (1 meg. wav file)
The prince can go to hell and stay there! 
My life is number one 
I swear to God he'll sneak away there, 
Like a thief on the run. 
(Papageno, Act 1)
Dass doch der Prinz beim Teufel ware! 
Mein Leben ist mir lieb 
Am Ende schleicht, bei meiner Ehre, 
Er von wie ein Dieb.
Second, whereas most current translations are singable, they ignore much of the irony that Schikaneder's libretto possesses. Hear excerpt. (730 kb. wav file)
The poor can speak of how they suffer, 
But not this man - he cannot talk. 
There's nothing I can do or offer; 
I'm powerless against your lock 
(Tamino, Act 1
Der Arme kann von Strafe sagen 
Denn seine Sprache ist dahin 
Ich kann nichts tun, als dich beklagen 
Weil ich zu schwach zu helfen bin
Third, aside from maintaining Schikaneder's original rhyme scheme, the literal accuracy makes this translation the most faithful rendering of the German libretto to date.  Hear excerpt. (706 kb. wav file)
Heed, all who wander through this highway full of danger 
Earth, fire, air, water purify the stranger 
When he has banished fear of death far from his sight 
He will reach from the earth to Heaven's light 
He'll find that highest wisdom shall be gained 
For him the mysteries of Isis are ordained. 
(The Armed Men, Act 2)
Der, welcher wander, dies Strasse voll Beschwerden 
Wird rein durch Feuer, Wasser Luft und Erden 
Wenn er des Todes Schrecken uberwinden kann 
Schwingt er sich aus der Erde himmelan 
Erleuchtet wird er dann instande sein, 
Sich den Mysterien der Isis ganz zu weihn.
The result is language, drama and humour that is fully accessible to contemporary audiences, along with well-defined characters whose status is reflected in their speech.

The KG-R libretto also includes dialogue that was edited in the original production. Besides speeding up the action, many opera-goers found these cuts actually made the plotline far easier to follow.  To read an excerpt click here.

For enquiries about THE MAGIC FLUTE and DON PASQUALE, call (604) 876-0302 or e-mail

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