Mozart’s Opera Comes Alive in the Land of the “Magic Flute”
A hard truth for the lovers of the traditional dramatic arts: wide spread appreciation for opera is long gone. Blame it on the medium being less accessible, or the fact that its profound melodramas, its weighty melodies are no match for today’s instant, multi-stimuli interactive media.
But what’s to say opera can’t be engaging and readily consumable, even in this day and age?
Enter Dutch director and artist Fons Schiedon, who transformed Mozart’s 18th century opera “The Magic Flute” into a motion graphic novel. The genre is exactly what it one would expect— a moving, animated book, somewhere between a Manga and a kinetic collage.
The medium gives a new life to a static story, at times opening scenes like a fold out card, at others unraveling a seemingly never ending journey through one long, scrolling roll or conveying suspense through rapid scatter pictures on top of one another.
While animation holds tight to the opera’s narrative — a fantastical world, a princess in distress, a deeper allegory about the selfish drive for immorality — it adds a modern, dark twist. The creators cited Daivd Lynch as an inspiration, and sought to portray the main character’s drift through his own subconscious as much as the central tale.
In the nod to the original, The Land of the Magic Flute also included much of the original score of Mozart’s opera; the story freezes on characters throughout the story as centuries-old melody explains their specific plight, their unique history. But for those too impatient to sit through the opera verses, these scenes are optional, and skipping them does not interfere with the narrative.
In this sense though, the motion graphic novel remains reverent, whether its viewers do or not. After watching the story unfold however, it’s hard not to feel a sense of admiration for the imagination of the opera’s tale or gratitude for what Mozart could convey through music— and what modern artists have strove to match through animation.