Mozart's last opera brought back as puppet show for kids

Updated: Jan 05, 2017, 13:55 IST | Suprita Mitter

A puppet show based on Mozart’s last opera spells holistic edutainment for children

HANDCRAFTED puppets, enchanting backdrops, engaging storytelling and soulful music will bring to life Mozart’s last opera on stage, this weekend. Mumbai-based Iris Creative Education, helmed by Charu Prasad, will present The Magic Flute, a classic opera that premiered in 1791. It was such a success that it was performed a hundred times that year.

"I first saw the piece in Austria when I was there to study puppetry, and was fascinated by the music. I was also on the lookout for new stories at the time," shares Prasad, who considers the art form apt to educate children.


A handmade costume being fitted on a puppet

"When we moved to Mumbai from Delhi a few years back, I enrolled my daughter in an ICSE school in Powai , but we were disappointed with the teaching methods. After some research, I found the Tridha School that uses music, dance and theatre to teach math, science and language. The school also has a year-long course in puppetry that can be undertaken by teachers and others interested. I signed up for it and loved it," she adds.

Featuring 14 characters, The Magic Flute’s story revolves around a pure-hearted prince and his feathered friend en route to rescue a damsel in distress. Prince Tamino who is passing through a jungle is attacked by a dragon. He is saved by three fairies who work for the Queen of the Night. The Queen shows him a portrait of her daughter, Pamina, who is enslaved by the evil king and Tamino falls in love with her.


The prince and dragon

The opera alternates musical numbers with spoken dialogue. "This style of opera is called a singspiel. It is accessible to first-time opera goers and kids since it is full of melodies, fairy-tale adventures and special effects," says Prasad. The costumes are handmade, and colour schemes and designs have been visualised by Sudipta Mukherjee. The backdrops and special effects have been designed by Sushma Varma, a software engineer and a passionate artiste.

Charu Prasad
Charu Prasad

"I have attempted this act under the guidance of my music teacher, Cedric Tixiera and with help from my team members, Nidhi Jain and Bimlesh Sharan, both trained teachers and lovers of art. The highlights of the play are the four musical pieces from the original opera, including the bird catcher Papageno song and the Queen of Nights Aria that have been performed and recorded by young musician Ayan Banerjee. The idea is to initiate children into the world of Western Classical music," shares Prasad, who spent the months perfecting the act. As a prelude to the puppet show, students of Tridha School will play The Turkish March, another famous piece by Mozart, on recorder.

ON: December 17, 5 pm to 6 pm 
AT: Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
CALL: 9819830575
COST: Rs 700

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