At the Théâtre du Capitole, a “Flute” not always enchanted

the essential
Performed until last night at the Théâtre du Capitole, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” delighted a large audience, often with families. Yet Pierre Rigal’s first opera staging is uneven.

Christophe Ghristi has won his bet. Despite the Covid cases and the contact cases, the artists of the Orchestra and the Capitol Choir (1) and the soloists held on. The 9 performances of “The Magic Flute” were able to take place without a hitch, one after the other sold out.

This success is due above all to the extraordinary attractiveness of Mozart’s opera, some famous arias of which have passed on to posterity. And to the momentum of a score that thrills the ears and the heart, which Frank Beermann and the Capitol Orchestra have perfectly translated into a fluid and vigorous movement. Same impeccable precision and delightful enthusiasm among the singers of the second cast (the one we heard on Wednesday, December 29), whether it is Marie Perbost (Pamina), Valentin Thill (Tamino), Kamil Ben Hsaïn Lachiri (Papageno) , Céline Laborie (Papagena) and Marlène Assayag (in charge of the highlight of the show, archi famous, namely the aria of the Queen of the night, which she mastered with majesty).

However, the first staging of an opera by Pierre Rigal, despite its inventiveness, did not totally convince us. Let’s move on to the anachronisms, which are the custard tart of those who want to “dust off” the genre (Papageno arrives in a hang-glider, Tamino wanders in a deserted gas station…) And on costumes most often of great ugliness. The major problem is a glaring lack of rhythm, especially in the first act, which is incomprehensible from a choreographer.

French instead of German

And among the debatable choices, that of additional dialogues (in French) supposed to “accompany the spectator”. We understand the educational desire and that of avoiding long “tunnels” spoken in German. Yet the result is mixed and repetitive, in a redundancy that too often distances us from Mozartian magic. As if Pierre Rigal did not have sufficient confidence in the strength of an imperishable work.