Thursday, 25 December 2008

Magical Christmastime!

Our first Christmas in Germany!

We haven't enough money to exchange gifts or buy extravagent decorations, but we cooked a full (vegetarian) Christmas dinner with roast spuds, Yorkshire pudding, and sage and onion stuffing and gorged ourselves on chocolates and booze in the traditional English way.

Not so traditionally English, instead of crashing out on the sofa with a tin of Quality Street to watch the Sound of Music, in the evening we went to the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden to see a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte). 

The view from our seats in The Gods was pretty crap, but then we'd only paid 17 Euro each for them, and what would you pay at Covent Gardens? Otherwise, the production, stage design, orchestra and singing was excellent. I particularly enjoyed the Queen of the Night's performance, so difficult to sing to perfection but this singer hit the high F6's with exhilerating precision. The guy who played Papageno was also noteworthy, sprinkling the standard text with ad libs and generally camping it up so he reminded me of David Walliams. The set had a strong Egyptian theme which fitted well, and some nice innovations, such as 'the three ladies' being disgorged by a three-headed serpent at the beginning.

If you don't analyse the Elightenment and Masonic references too much, The Magic Flute is basically a traditional pantomime ("Where's Monostatos?" "He's behind you!"), and with this performance they even threw in a pantomime unicorn (and Horus, and crocodiles etc).

A magical evening, albeit marred by poor views of the stage, topped off with after-show Glühwein next to the ice-rink on Unter den Linden.

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