Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Isango Ensemble’s The Magic Flute (Impempe Yomlingo), bringing actors and musicians from South Africa to Chicago as part of CST’s celebrated World’s Stage Series.
The Magic Flute reimagines Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most beloved operatic work, incorporating African singing, pulsating beats and spirited storytelling into this 223-year-old classic. The production will be performed at Skyline Stage on Navy Pier, Sept.25–28.
With a score faithfully transposed for an orchestra of marimbas, drums and percussion, 30 actors and musicians fill the stage of The Magic Flute, celebrating the spirit of contemporary Africa. This unique interpretation resets the Western operatic classic within a South African township, utilizing traditional elements of South African heritage and various African languages.
Breaking box office records at London’s Young Vic theater, the production was awarded London’s Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and France’s Globes de Cristal for Best Opera Production following a sold-out run at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. The Sunday Times gives the show five stars, applauding its “soaring lyricism, a sense of celebration, generous moral urgency, playful joviality—it is touching, sexy and cheeky.” The Independent hailed it as “enchantingly fresh, performed with infectious wit and visible joy.” The Magic Flute tours to Chicago Shakespeare and the United States after having thrilled more than 3 million audience members worldwide in London, Dublin, Tokyo and Singapore.
This production marks the Chicago debut of South Africa’s Isango Ensemble, founded by Director Mark Dornford-May and Music Director Pauliene Malefane. The company draws its performers from the townships surrounding Cape Town and speaks to a broad multicultural audience. Since its founding in 2000, the company has played to sold-out audiences around the world with numerous productions including A Christmas Carol (Ikrismaskherol), The Mysteries and Aesop’s Fables.
Through its celebrated World’s Stage programming, Chicago Shakespeare has collaborated with more than 700 international artists representing 19 countries on five continents, engaging audiences in a dialogue with the world’s established and emerging theater artists.
The Magic Flute is performed September 25 – 28 at Skyline Stage on Navy Pier (next door to Chicago Shakespeare). Tickets are on sale now for $20 – $55 with group and member discounts available. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. More information and tickets are available at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office, (312) 595-5600 or online at www.chicagoshakes.com.