The Magic Flute in the subway/Die Zauberflöte in der U-bahn. Berlin, April 27th 2008 (second performance of the run - opened April 26th)
Concept, director and conductor: Christoph Hagel. Berliner Symphoniker. Cast listed here.
The concept for this production of the Magic Flute is fascinating: The location is the new subway station Bundestag, not scheduled for use until 2009, located in the center of Berlin next to the new Parliament (Bundestag in German). The concept apparently is evolving around the subway being the center of an expanded web/labyrinth of the city and is directed by Christoph Hagel, previously associated with similar events in Germany.
The updated and rewritten story goes as this: We are in a subway (!) in present day Germany, as indicated by the rewritten contemporary dialogue including jokes about Angela Merkel etc. but with Tamino seemingly arriving from the past. Several of the arias were re-texted as well, but I didn´t understand what they were actually singing. In brief, Pamina is apprehended by railway officer in a break during the overture and led to Sarastro (a businessman?). Papageno is a punk-type living within the subway station where the Queen of the Night (and other characters apart from the three boys, who arrive on skateboard) appear from the railway track. In the end the Queen of the Night with followers are swallowed by the railway.
Tips for those planning to attend any of the performances: Gallery left side tickets are located right above the rail tracks where characters are entering and exiting – it seems better to opt for the right side gallery. There is free seating in the galleries and the entrance opens approximately one hour beforehand. It is quite warm inside – no need to bring additional warm clothing.