Die Zauberflöte

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Die Zauberflöte is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.

Also widely known by its English title, The Magic Flute.

The original text

The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form during the time it was written that included both singing and spoken dialogue. A whimsical fairy tale with themes deeply rooted in the Enlightenment and principles of Free Masonry, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte appeals to audiences of all ages.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Towerfluit in 1948 by Gideon Roos.

South African musical adaptation

Adapted in 2007 as a South African musical, Impempe Yomlingo (and billed as The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo), by Mark Dornford-May with words and music by Mandisi Dyantyis, Mbali Kgosidintsi, Pauline Malefane and Nolufefe Mtshabe. Mozart's score is transposed for an orchestra of marimbas, drums and township percussion. The musical, set in contemporary South Africa, re-interprets the story from a South African perspective, telling of Prince Tamino's quest to rescue Pamina (both of them are Xhosa-speaking teenagers), daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the Priest of the Sun.

The production was produced by Isango Portobello, directed by Dornford-May and choreographed by Lungelo Ngamlana, starred Dornford-May's wife, Pauline Malefane in the role of the Queen of the Night. It featured performers from the township of Khayelitsha.

After its premiere at the Baxter Theatre, the production was presented at the Young Vic Theatre in London over the 2007 festive season and at the Duke of York's Theatre for a further run until 19 April, 2008. The musical won the Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Off-West End Production and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical revival that year. Following its West End theatre season, the production toured to the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Canterbury Festival.

Performance history in South Africa

1948: First performance in Afrikaans.

1957: Presented at Worcester's first music festival organised by Cromwell Everson.

1960: Presented in Afrikaans by the UCT Opera Company at the Union Festival in Bloemfontein.

1960: Presented in Afrikaans by the South African Opera Federation, starring Nellie du Toit as Pamina and Gé Korsten as the First Man in Armour, produced by Hermien Dommisse, conducted by Leo Quayle.

1967: Presented by NAPAC Opera.

1968: Presented by NAPAC Opera.

1971: Presented in Afrikaans by CAPAB Opera, starring Nellie du Toit as Königin der Nacht and Gé Korsten as Tamino, produced by Frederick Dalberg, conducted by Karl Fischer.

1978: Presented in Afrikaans as Die Towerfluit by CAPAB Opera.

1988: Presented by CAPAB Opera (14 May – 11 June)

1991: Presented by CAPAB Opera (30 September – 18 October)

1994: Presented at Oude Libertas (19 March)

1995: Presented by CAPAB Opera (12–30 August)

2000: Presented by Cape Town Opera (21–27 November)

2002: Presented by Cape Town Opera (5–15 January)

2004: Presented by Cape Town Opera (7–14 August)

2007: Presented by Cape Town Opera (8–18 September); presented by Isango Portobello as The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo at the Baxter Theatre

2008: The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo presented at the Market Theatre (November) Adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May. Cast: 35 performers from Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and starring Pauline Malefane. .

2010: The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo presented at the Fugard Theatre as its opening production (12 February).


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

'Die Zauberflöte'. The Metropolitan Opera. https://www.metopera.org/season/on-demand/opera/?upc=810004201224

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

"Everson, Cromwell". University of Pretoria. https://www.up.ac.za/sacomposers/article/2755748/everson-cromwell-

"The Magic Flute (musical)" Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magic_Flute_(musical)

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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