The Magic Flute. 1991 — Performing arts

Scenery design for the performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute organised by the Asturian Association of Friends of the Opera.

Institutional sponsor: Asociación Asturiana de Amigos de la Ópera

Location: Oviedo, Asturias.

© Drawings: Ignasi Cristià and Josep Montoya

The Asturian Association of Friends of the Opera, headquartered in Oviedo, organised this scenery contest in which we won an honourable mention. The Magic Flute is a complex opera because it recounts a coming-of-age journey laden with Masonic symbolism that explores the dichotomy between the Apollonian and the Dionysian by examining the depths of the human condition. Since it is a journey along the pathway of perfection until reaching full realisation, we determined that there would be no black curtains as the scenes changed but that instead these transitions would be incorporated into the narrative rhythm.

The first element we found is an architectural frame that surrounds the front of the stage, which is reminiscent of a temple and symbolises the space of the sublime where the opera is enacted. All the elements harmonised with this architecture, depicted in a stylised, streamlined fashion. Thus, during the trial in which the main character confronts a snake, it is depicted with three neon lights which move via strings like a marionette. The Queen of Night appears when three circular rings which slowly appear on the stage converge, like an eclipse. The scenery elements enter and leave the stage slowly, in full view of the audience, making imperceptible transitions. One of the scenes takes place in a palm tree grove, which in our case has rigid Cartesian geometry with steel palm trees assembled in a symmetrical composition. They are sculptural, spare, abstract elements in a very bare space with plain colours in the background. Our focus on this painstakingly designed rhythm came from the very structure of Mozart’s opera: the relationship between the aria and the recitative as elements to either plunge deeply into the story or move it forward.

Ópera de Oviedo Website