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What begins like a fairy-tale turns into a playful fantasy midway between magic farce and Masonic mysticism.

Directed by David Pountney with a stage design by Johan Engels, and costumes and puppets designed by Marie-Jeanne Lecca. Accompanied by the bird catcher Papageno, three enigmatic ladies and three prescient boys, Prince Tamino sets off on his mission to free Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from Sarastro's clutches.

The Magic Flute conveys an enlightened, humanistic ideal of man: at the end it is a normal man and a normal woman who bear responsibility for the future of society, while the machinery of power serving queens and priests reveals itself to be nothing but superfluous bombast.

The Magic Flute is steeped in the ideas of the Enlightenment, a movement that placed its faith in human reason and thus called into question the authority of time-honoured powers like the aristocracy and religion.

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