The curtain has risen on Jun Kaneko's vision of Mozart's "The Magic Flute," and it's as vibrant as the "Madama Butterfly" that lit up the Belk Theater last winter.
The Japanese artist's "Flute," which Opera Carolina will bring to Charlotte in January, is having its first run of performances at the San Francisco Opera. The venerable California company is another of the groups that jointly commissioned Kaneko to design sets, costumes and projections for Mozart's fairy tale. (Photo: San Francisco Opera)
The San Francisco Chronicle's Joshua Kosman credits Kaneko's designs with helping balance the opera's comedy and philosophizing: "The heart of the undertaking," Kosman writes, "lies in the explosively colorful stage design."
"Kaneko fits out the production with a wealth of design elements that situated the work in a perfectly rendered fairy-tale world. ... Tamino, the prince whose quest for love and virtue carries the piece, is a sort of storybook samurai, and the wizardly potentate Sarastro is a shogun. ... Other strains -- the avian imagery of the bird-catcher Papageno, for instance, or the appearance of the Three Spirits in what looked like floating sundae glasses -- are pure, infectious frippery."
The San Francisco Opera's promotional video gives a taste. The singers you'll see aren't the point, because Opera Carolina will have a different cast. But you'll get an idea what Kaneko has conjured up.