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The Arts

Mozart's Masonic Magic Performed Monthly in Moscow
Little known to visitors of Moscow, as it does not take place in one of the premier theater venues of Moscow, is a special opportunity to experience a performance of Mozart's Masonic The Magic Flute.
By Steve Walden

With a belief and commitment to the power of the music (symbolized by the flute) and of its namesake, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Musical Theater Amadei has been performing The Magic Flute, as well as other Mozart works for 10 years. Formerly performed at the Sheremetyeva Estate Theater at Ostankeno (Sheremetyeva's Palace in Moscow on the Garden Ring at Sukarevskaya), the group is now regularly performing the Magic Flute and other works in the old and sadly neglected Museum- Apartment of Alexei N. Tolstoy, which was the former servant's quarters for the art-nouveau Gorky House in the heart of Moscow, built for the banker Stepan Ryabushinsky in 1900.

The Amadei Musical Theater, under the devoted direction of Oleg Mitrofanov, believes in continual artistic growth, as there are always creative changes and enhancements in the staging and singing of the opera. Backed by a small seven-piece ensemble and in spite of the modest setting - the main sitting room of the apartment (which includes an original Hieronymus Bosch) - Amadei gives soul to this opera, with a creditable if simple staging and lighting.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a fellow Freemason, said to Eckermann: "It is enough that the crowd would find pleasure in seeing the spectacle; at the same time, its high significance will not escape the initiates."

This is not some grand sumptuous performance in a luxury venue, but the singers are equal to and sometimes surpass, those in the more well-known and well financed settings around the city. Those who know and love The Magic Flute will forgive the limits imposed by the setting in a home built in 1900, and will enjoy the performances of the really lovely, harmonious Three Ladies, the beautiful Pamina in pink, the famous arias of the Queen of the Night, and the failures of the feathered Papageno "to be a man ."

The Magic Flute is one of Mozart's last works composed in the last year of his life along with the Requiem. And while one can always fly to Germany to see a performance, it is here in Moscow (in the original German - with some dialogue in Russian) for all to see. Those who know and love Mozart's music should not miss this twicemonthly performance by the Amadei Musical Theater.

Moderately priced seats are best ordered or booked ahead, and more information can be had at the website, and tickets can be ordered by phone at: (495) 290 09 56, or by email at

Alexei N. Tolstoy's Museum-Apartment
4, Spiridonovka Street, Moscow
Metro stations: Pushkinskaya, Arbatskaya
Ticket office: Tuesday - Sunday 12-18

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