Where Angels Fear to Tread
Appomattox Closes at SF Opera

5th Performance of Die Zauberflöte

Erika Miklósa, Photo by Terrence McCarthy* Notes *
Last night was the fifth performance of Die Zauberflöte at San Francisco Opera, just over halfway through the run, which closes November 3rd. From standing room in the balcony, one can appreciate the colorful designs on the floor, but sadly, only the arms of the Queen of the Night were visible in her first aria. Erika Miklósa's face was obscured by proscenium, and it was still difficult to hear her, though usually one can hear the singers better from the back of the balcony than from the back of the orchestra level.

This time around I was more impressed with Dina Kuznetsova, she and Christopher Maltman sang "Bei Männern" especially well. The Three Boys sounded more together, though the wings of their stork-craft partially obstructed the heads of the children.

As for other performances, I particularly noticed Greg Fedderly as Monostatos, the tenor has good volume and excellent acting skills. Georg Zeppenfeld's rendering of "In diesen heil'gen Hallen" was lovely. The orchestra also sounded quite fine, Runnicles took brisk tempi.

* Tattling *
Standing room was nearly empty on the balcony level, but the seats were relatively full, considering that it was a Tuesday night. There were latecomers that leaned on the railings, which would have been fine, but a gasping pair took it upon themselves to whisper and rearrange themselves. When a harsh look failed to silence them, a hushing made them flee.

People clapped for the hybrid animals in Act I Scene 15 while Tamino was still singing. However, the people directly in front of me (Row L Seats 111-125) were extraordinarily well-behaved. No one spoke, the only noise incidents were when one person quickly unwrapped a candy and another pressed in the plastic of a water bottle by accident.

The scene changes were quieter than opening night. The only time they were disturbing was when the Three Boys sing "Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden" in Act II Scene 26. Since it is only the three children singing, the orchestra is also quiet, just strings, flute, and bassoon. So the noise from the set being put into place was noticeable.

A friend noted that the costumes of the Monostatos and the slaves looked like a cross between Oompa-Loompas and Fruit of the Loom's Fruit Guys.