New production conceived and created by Jeffrey Marc Buchman for Florida Grand Opera.

Mozart’s timeless opera, “The Magic Flute,” has long enthralled audiences with its multi-layered storytelling, captivating both adults and children alike. Its fantasy quest, woven together with both humor and poignancy offers a journey that inspires, surprises and delights. As I pondered how to craft my newest telling of this masterpiece, I found myself drawn to the parallels between its narrative and the immersive world of role-playing board games, such as Dungeons & Dragons®.

Role-playing games transport players to fantastical realms where they embark on epic quests, facing challenges that mirror our own struggles and triumphs. Like “The Magic Flute”, these games engage us on multiple levels, inviting us to explore themes of morality, resilience, and camaraderie. While both mediums undeniably provide a form of escapism, their true value lies in their ability to inspire. They serve as reminders of our potential for growth and the profound impact of shared experiences on our journey through life.

In this new production, I have blended Mozart’s opera with the world of gaming to tell its story through boundless imagination and adolescent eyes. If childhood represents a time of innocence and clarity where moral structures appear distinct and straightforward, then adulthood unfolds as a journey into the nuanced realm of complexity where we must confront the bittersweet truths that great pain often accompanies great love, and that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred in our pursuit of what we perceive as a noble cause. This transition from simplicity to complexity finds a poignant expression in adolescence, a period marked by questioning the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the world around us. Through the lens of adolescent perception, navigating the uncharted waters of personal growth and self-discovery, the opera takes on a renewed vibrancy capturing the essence of a transformative journey into maturity.

Beyond mere entertainment, “The Magic Flute” and role-playing games both present profound opportunities for personal exploration and empowerment. They challenge us to confront ethical dilemmas, to tap into our inner resilience, and to forge connections with others. Whether in the opera house or sitting around a gaming table, these experiences inspire us to embrace our inner hero and confront the battles that life throws our way.

In a world that often feels fragmented, the communal experience of attending the opera, just like that of role-playing board games, offers a sense of belonging and shared purpose. By merging these two worlds, this production celebrates the enduring power of storytelling to unite, inspire, and transform. It is a tribute to the child in all of us, whose imagination knows no bounds and whose spirit yearns for adventure and magic.

Die Zauberflöte
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opera in two acts
Libretto by Emauel Schikaneder
First performed: 1891, Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna
Last performed at FGO in 2013
Sung in German with English dialogue
English and Spanish projected translations

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House

  • Nov 16, 2024 at 7:00 pm
  • Nov 17, 2024 at 2:00 pm
  • Nov 19, 2024 at 8:00 pm

Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater

  • Dec 5, 2024 at 7:30 pm
  • Dec 7, 2024 at 7:30 pm
Conductor: Christine Brandes*
Assistant Conductor: Felix Jarrar
Chorus Master: Jared Peroune
Director: Jeffrey Buchman
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes
Production: Florida Grand Opera
Scenic Designer: Stefan Moravski
Costume Designer: Camilla Haith
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel
Video Designer: Greg Emetaz
English titles by: Karl Hesser
Spanish titles by: Dreambay Enterprises

Cast in order of appearance:

Tamino: Ricardo Garcia*
Second Lady: Mary Burke+*
Third Lady: Monique Galvao+*
Papageno: Alex DeSocio*
Queen of the Night: Laura León
Pamina: Sara Kennedy
1st Priest/1st Armored Man: James Mancuso +*
2nd Priest/2nd Armored Man: Alexander Kolyszko +*
Sarastro: Andrew Potter +*
Papagena: Sydney Dardis +*
*denotes FGO debut
+denotes FGO Studio Artist


Ricardo García

Mary Burke

Monique Galvão

Alex DeSocio

Laura León

Sara Kennedy

James Mancuso

Alexander Kolyszko

Andrew Potter

Sydney Dardis

Christine Brandes

Jeffrey Buchman


Three Ladies kill a huge serpent that was chasing Tamino, then go to inform the Queen of the Night of his arrival. Papageno introduces himself, boasting to Tamino that he was the one who slew the serpent. The Ladies return to give Tamino a portrait of Pamina, claiming she has been enslaved by Sarastro, and they temporarily padlock Papageno’s mouth for lying. Tamino is charmed by the image of Pamina. The Queen appears, lamenting the loss of her daughter, and charges Tamino and Papageno with Pamina’s rescue. The Ladies give Tamino a magic flute and Papageno magic bells to ensure their safety. Monostatos tries to capture Pamina but is frightened away by Papageno, who tells Pamina that Tamino loves her and intends to save her. Tamino arrives at a temple and is told that it is the Queen, not Sarastro, who is evil. He plays his flute, hoping to make Pamina appear. She and Papageno are nearby and, thanks to Papageno’s magic bells, are able once again to escape from Monostatos. Sarastro promises Pamina eventual freedom. She sees Tamino outside the temple and they fall in love.

Tres Damas matan a una enorme serpiente que perseguía a Tamino y luego van a informar a la Reina de la Noche de su llegada. Papageno se presenta y se jacta ante Tamino de que él fue quien mató a la serpiente. Las Damas regresan para darle a Tamino un retrato de Pamina, alegando que Sarastro la ha esclavizado, y cierran temporalmente la boca de Papageno por mentir. Tamino queda encantado con la imagen de Pamina. Aparece la Reina, lamentando la pérdida de su hija, y encarga a Tamino y Papageno el rescate de Pamina. Las Damas le dan a Tamino una flauta mágica y campanas mágicas a Papageno para garantizar su seguridad. Monostatos intenta capturar a Pamina, pero Papageno lo asusta y le dice a Pamina que Tamino la ama y tiene la intención de salvarla. Tamino llega a un templo y le dicen que es la Reina, no Sarastro, la que es malvada. Toca su flauta con la esperanza de hacer aparecer a Pamina. Ella y Papageno están cerca y, gracias a las campanas mágicas de Papageno, pueden escapar una vez más de Monostatos. Sarastro promete a Pamina una eventual libertad. Ve a Tamino fuera del templo y se enamoran.

Tamino and Papageno begin the first of three initiation trials to join Sarastro’s temple brotherhood. Sworn to silence, Tamino resists the temptations of the Three Ladies, but Papageno quickly succumbs. Monostatos again approaches the sleeping Pamina but is warded off by the Queen of the Night, who gives her daughter a dagger with which to murder Sarastro. Monostatos renews his quest when the Queen vanishes, but Pamina is rescued by Sarastro, who consoles her. Papageno catches a glimpse of Papagena, but is warned that he must succeed in the trials if he is to have her for a wife. Pamina is despondent over Tamino’s silence, but is saved from suicide by the Three Spirits. She is reunited with Tamino and they undergo the trials by water and fire, emerging triumphant thanks to the magic flute. Papageno also is saved from attempted suicide by the Spirits, who remind him to use his magic bells to summon Papagena. The pair plan for a fertile future. The Queen of the Night, her Three Ladies, and Monostatos attack the temple brotherhood, but are defeated and the victory of light over darkness is celebrated.

Tamino y Papageno comienzan la primera de tres pruebas de iniciación para unirse a la hermandad del templo de Sarastro. Jurando guardar silencio, Tamino resiste las tentaciones de las Tres Damas, pero Papageno sucumbe rápidamente. Monostatos vuelve a acercarse a la dormida Pamina, pero es rechazado por la Reina de la Noche, quien le da a su hija una daga con la que asesinar a Sarastro. Monostatos renueva su búsqueda cuando la Reina desaparece, pero Pamina es rescatada por Sarastro, quien la consuela. Papageno vislumbra a Papagena, pero se le advierte que debe tener éxito en las pruebas si quiere tenerla como esposa. Pamina está abatida por el silencio de Tamino, pero los Tres Espíritus la salvan del suicidio. Se reencuentra con Tamino y pasan por las pruebas de agua y fuego, saliendo triunfantes gracias a la flauta mágica. Papageno también es salvado de un intento de suicidio por los Espíritus, quienes le recuerdan que use sus campanas mágicas para convocar a Papagena. La pareja planea un futuro fértil. La Reina de la Noche, sus Tres Damas y Monostatos atacan la hermandad del templo, pero son derrotados y se celebra la victoria de la luz sobre la oscuridad.

Watch the making of FGO’s original production of The Magic Flute