Somewhat Magical Flute From Juventus Lyrica

ArgentinaArgentina  Mozart, The Magic FluteSoloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Juventus Lyrica, Hernán Schvartzman (conductor), Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 19.4.2013. (JSJ)

Tamino: Santiago Bürgi
Pamina: Sonia Stelman / Ana Laura Menéndez
Papageno: Gabriel Carasso / Fernando Alvar Núñez
Papagena: Laura Penchi
Queen of the Night: Laura Pisani / Laura Penchi
Sarastro: Oreste Chlopecki / Leonardo Fontana
Three ladies: Sabrina Cirera, Mariana Carnovali, Verónica Canaves
Monóstatos: Patricio Oliveira
Speaker: Maximiliano Michailovsky
Three boys: Luciana Piovan, Rebeca Nomberto, Julieta Cao

Director/costumes: María Jaunarena
Sets/lighting: Gonzalo Córdova
Chorus: Hernán Sánchez Arteaga

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Caption: Juventus Lyrica’s Magic Flute. Photo Liliana Morsia.

The last of the main Buenos Aires companies to open its 2013 season, Juventus Lyrica opened with a new production of The Magic Flute by the company’s executive director María Jaunarena.

As a work The Magic Flute, with its changes from sung to sometimes lengthy spoken dialogue (here in the original German, rather than Spanish as in some previous productions) with little action and frequent abrupt changes in mood, requires a slick production and to a large extent this was given here. The simple set was also effective with the geometric figures suggestive of “higher things” and the moon-like doorway from which the Queen of the Night appeared.

However, where it was let down, in my view, was the tendency to draw some easy laughs – and what may be funny initially can pall if overdone. Papageno may be a bird catcher but that doesn’t mean he is a simpleton, as he appeared to be here – although that said Gabriel Carosso was solid vocally, with good tone, although he could have practiced his Pan pipes harder.

Likewise Papagena doesn’t need to be overacted, although again Laura Penchi was excellent vocally. And do the pair always have to appear with a “flock” of little Papageno/as at the end?

Among the other cast members, Laura Pisani’s Queen of the Night must be highlighted for her drama and agility and her ovation was well deserved. Sonia Stelman warmed to her role of Pamina, while Santiago Bürgi was a solid rather than memorable Tamino.

Patricio Oliveira was a sufficiently coarse Monostatos but Oreste Chlopecki lacked authority as Sarastro. Good performances too from the three ladies, Sabrina Cirera, Mariana Carnovali and Verónica Canaves, and the three boys Luciana Piovan, Rebeca Nomberto and Julieta Cao.

Hernán Schvartzman, an Argentine resident in the Netherlands who has led several productions for Juventus Lyrica, once again demonstrated his skills with polished and well balanced playing. In Act 2 after Papageno offered Schvartzman a swig from his carafe of wine, the orchestra played out of tune, and this brought the house down.

Jonathan Spencer Jones