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November 6, 2019 | What Did You Think?,

Let’s Talk About The Magic Flute!

The Magic Flute is back at ArtsEmerson, giving audiences a chance to yet again dance along to Mozart. We are thrilled to bring this show and Isango Ensemble back to Boston, reflecting on the joy this company brings to our stages. We’d love to know your thoughts and open up a dialogue about The Magic Flute. Below, we have some prompts for you to get the conversation started. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post, or reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As always, we’ll be collecting reviews and other audience testimonials for you to refer to.

  • If you could see Isango do any opera or musical, what would it be?
  • Did you learn anything about how stories can be told from Isango’s approach to Mozart’s Opera? 
  • What aria or image brought you the most joy? 

Haven’t seen The Magic Flute yet? It’s only here until November 10 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, so be sure to buy your tickets soon!


“There is a spiritual fusing of traditions here that adds a whole new dimension to what we consider opera.”

“”The vocal talent and musicality of Isango Ensemble is astounding.” –Theatre Mirror

“This morality tale was given a whole new lease on life.”

“If you think you’ve seen the definitive ‘Magic Flute’ sometime in the past, think again. This was the ‘Magic Flute’ of the present and the future.” – South Shore Critic


“I took my 16 year old grandson and we both loved it! Really wonderful, goosebumps and all.” – Lynn N., Facebook

4 responses to “Let’s Talk About The Magic Flute!”

  1. Alan Levitan says:

    Much of it was charming, especially the overture’s cleverness and all the dances. But one of the things about Mozart is that the orchestration is so rich and various that the ear never palls. Over two hours of marimbas and drums just won’t do it. And for opera, even for adaptations of the operatic form, one needs better and more accurate voices than were heard in this production. By the time the second act comes around, the sound-repetitiveness seriously beings to tire the ear when one wants to hear Mozart’s original melodies. A noble effort, but it really fails in the end.

  2. Fran S-H says:

    Visually stunning and very creative. The energy and the dancing were phenomenal. However why the decision to not have ticker tapes with the words? Even with the synopsis so trying to make out the words.

  3. David Dower says:

    Thank you for your question, Fran. It’s a good one and a complex one. The decision of whether or not to subtitle a performance is one made by the company and its creative team. In this case, the ensemble of Isango feel very strongly that the societal associations with language in South Africa– and perceived language hierarchies– mean that subtitles, particularly in English, would make a statement about language dominance they don’t want to make. The performance is in English, Zulu, and Xhosa on purpose, with each on equal footing. Part of what’s valuable to us, at ArtsEmerson, about this group, is their instance of living out our mission of connecting across difference inside the art.

    You can read a bit about the complex relationship to language in South Africa here:

  4. Nora Charney Rosenbaum says:

    A wonderful and enchanting performance! Is there anywhere to get a recording of The Magic Flute Isango Ensemble?

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