Mozart’s Classic Opera is Updated to Explore Social Movements and Political Ideas of the Era

NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Vocal Performance will present The Magic Flute from April 4-7. Mozart’s last opera—one of the most frequently performed operas of all time—is a fairytale-like story exploring the opposing ideals that characterized the Age of Enlightenment. The NYU Steinhardt production has updated the opera with transformed characters that represent the political and social ideas of 1960s America.

The two-act opera is by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and features libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The Steinhardt production is directed by Garth Bardsley and will be spoken in English and sung in German.

The Magic Flute—which premiered in 1791 in Vienna months before Mozart’s death—has been described as an allegory of the quest for wisdom and enlightenment—themes that are portrayed through both sing-a-long tunes and fiendishly challenging operatic arias.

The NYU Steinhardt production reimagines Mozart’s classic opera, examining these ideas through the social and political movements of 1960s America. Schikaneder's characters are recast (and reclothed!) to bring to life the diverging elements of a society—a social structure that, for some, should remain just as it is, but for others, is in dire need of change and transformation.

“I set this production in the 1960s when once again ‘new’ ideas, political and social, were being written, sung and shouted about and the youth of that day found themselves very much at odds with their elders. There are many layers to this extraordinary piece and for all its flaws, it remains a hugely entertaining and profoundly moving work,” said director Garth Bardsley, a visiting associate professor in NYU Steinhardt's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.

NYU Steinhardt’s production of The Magic Flute runs Thursday, April 4 at 8 p.m., Friday, April 5 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. at the Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 West 4th Street. Tickets are $20 general admission and $5 for students, seniors, and NYU faculty. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at, call 212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Pl (at Washington Square South).

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit

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