Five Things About The Magic Flute You'll Enjoy More on Drugs

Categories: Stage

Photos by Gaston de Cardenas
If you're not an "opera person," the word opera probably calls to mind visions of shrieking, busty women in blonde braided pigtails and horned Viking hats.

Here are some things it probably does not call to mind: cults, Helena Bonham Carter, Octomom, "Gangnam Style," an acid trip at the zoo.

So if The Magic Flute, the current production by Florida Grand Opera, is your first exposure to the world of opera, you're going to be very surprised. Because you'll get none of the former, and a mind-trippingly giant portion of the latter.

This is one freaky show, starting out as a German fairy tale, transforming into a religious allegory, and leaving audience members feeling like they're still coming down from one seriously potent psychotropic substance. We can't say we understood it, even with subtitles -- but maybe we just weren't open-minded (read: stoned) enough. And that's a shame, because The Magic Flute is filled with moments that would've been greatly enhanced by a little altered brain chemistry. For example:

The "Ladies"
Billed only as "First Lady," "Second Lady," and "Third Lady" (Lacy Sauter, Cynthia Cook, Carla Jablonski), these are not your average opera chicks. They sashay on stage looking like full-grown cousins of Helena Bonham Carter in Alice in Wonderland -- curly red hair, ghoulish makeup, and eye-catching dresses with fluttering spades down the skirts. They're funny, and kind of evil, and yeah, they weirdly fall in love with main character Tamino (Andrew Bidlack), who is a child. But they're also like something out of a Tim Burton movie, which is to say: trippy.

The Magic Flute Zoo
When Tamino plays his flute for the first time, he learns it has Disney-like powers over the animals of the forest, drawing a lion, a monkey, a unicorn, and other fantastical creatures out of the darkness to dance around the stage. The smiling, unmoving masks the animals wear look more murder-y than magical, though. Maybe we've been too into Hotline Miami lately, but that unicorn straight freaked us out.

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