David McVicar's enchanting production returns ©2017 ROH. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

The Magic Flute

127 November 2019
The performance lasts about 3 hours, including one interval
Main Stage
Opera and music

Mozart wrote Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) for a suburban theatre in Vienna, the Theater auf der Wieden. He drew on the magical spectacle and earthy comedy of popular Viennese theatre. As well as being a comedy, The Magic Flute is an expression of Mozart’s profound spiritual beliefs: Enlightenment concerns with the search for wisdom and virtue are at the heart of this enchanting tale. The Magic Flute was an instant success with audiences and Mozart’s supposed rival Salieri described it as an ‘operone’ – a great opera.

David McVicar’s classic production embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s work. The audience is transported to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzlingly starry skies. The setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Mozart’s kaleidoscopic score, from the Queen of the Night’s coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina’s lyrical love duets and Papageno’s hearty, folksong-like arias.

Approximate running times
Act I: 1 hour 10 minutes
Interval: 25 minutes
Act II: 1 hour 20 minutes
Sung in German with English surtitles

Thanks to:

Production Principal

Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet

Production supported by



Prince Tamino promises the Queen of the Night that he will rescue her daughter Pamina from the enchanter Sarastro. He begins his quest, accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno – but all is not as it seems…

Tamino and Papageno discover Sarastro is a wise and kind leader. They undergo three ordeals. By the end they are united with their true loves: Tamino with Pamina, and Papageno with his Papagena.


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicWolfgang Amadeus Mozart

LibrettoEmanuel Schikaneder

DirectorDavid McVicar

DesignerJohn Macfarlane

Lighting designerPaule Constable

Movement directorLeah Hausman

Revival DirectorBárbara Lluch

Revival ChoreographerAngelo Smimmo


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.