Mozart’s beloved opera The Magic Flute comes to life in a new feature adaptation.

The film follows a teenager on two journeys: one at a prestigious boarding school to fulfill his aspirations as a singer, and another in a parallel world filled with fantasy and adventure. 

Tim (Jack Wolfe, Shadow And Bone) has been dreaming his whole life about attending Mozart All Boys Music School, but already his first days there confront him with a hostile headmaster (F. Murray Abraham, The White Lotus), the stresses of a first love, and serious doubts about the authenticity of his singing voice. When he discovers a mystical gateway in the school’s library, he is pulled into the fantastic cosmos of Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, where imagination has no limits and the Queen of the Night (Sabine Devieilhe) reigns.

The Magic Flute: Mixing The Magic and The Mundane

As a former orchestra kid, classical music lover, and someone who appreciates a good “boarding school adventure” story, The Magic Flute is right up my alley. But let’s get the obvious out of the way first. I know opera isn’t for everyone. If you flat-out hate opera music, this movie probably will not magically change your mind.

However, if you’re curious about the medium or just branching out in your music tastes, The Magic Flute serves as a pretty good entrypoint. The film’s story-within-a-story framing gives viewers the chance to learn more about Mozart’s classic opera; as Tim goes to school, so do you. It also starts out with the “real world” movie story, before moving into the world of the opera. I think this will make it more approachable for the average person than just being thrown into the first aria.

Tim’s boarding school journey loosely parallels his journey in the fantasy world, overcoming obstacles in a sort of coming-of-age story about finding love and figuring yourself out. I enjoyed the duality of the real world/fantasy world setup more in theory than in practice with this one, though. The real world plot execution had a tendency to feel a bit clunky. (Tim explaining his background to Sophie on the train, then the headmaster, then his roommate…) 

Still, while the blending of the stories wasn’t my favorite, I did enjoy The Magic Flute as a whole.

A Great Cinematic Production

Overall, The Magic Flute really shines as a production. I loved how detailed and immersive the world felt every time Tim stepped through the doorway and into Mozart’s fantasy world. The costuming and set design looked great; it had the theatricality of a stage production, but built out more for the screen.

Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute

It’s not an effects or CGI-heavy film, but it doesn’t shy away from using these techniques to enhance the magic, either. When Tim first stumbles through the door and finds himself chased by a giant snake… wow. It’s the kind of thing you can’t do on stage, and really adds to the magic of the opera.

On top of the stunning look and feel, The Magic Flute brings together an incredibly talented cast. If you couldn’t immediately tell, the film features both musically-talented screen actors and world-renowned opera singers, including Devieilhe, Rolando Villazón, and Morris Robinson. 

Wolfe proves an endearing leading man; between this and his upcoming appearance in Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, I think we can expect his star to continue to rise. I also really loved Iwan Rheon as Papageno. After his role as the absolutely loathsome Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones, it was jarring to see him play the comic relief. But he sold me immediately on his goofy charm.

(L to R) Stefi Celma and Iwan Rheon in The Magic Flute

Though the blended stories didn’t mesh together as well as I would have liked, The Magic Flute does remind us of the fantasy and charm of Mozart’s opera through a stunning cinematic production.

You can watch The Magic Flute in theaters starting March 10.