An Introduction to the ideas behind the Magic Flute Diaries, by Kevin Sullivan:
I was interested in producing a stylized film, shot in CGI on a virtual set, using the kind of computer graphics employed in movies like Sin City and 300. I traveled to Europe to complete all of the background and second unit photography in Salzburg, Vienna, Munich and Bavaria. My characters would play out their story traveling through Salzburg—from baroque theatres to bustling train stations and underground sewers to vast Austrian palaces and monasteries – and into Mozart’s operatic fantasyland complete with angels, a queen descending on northern lights and Gothic castles looming in clouds. This production was intended to reflect my love of art and music; and their mutual ability to allow the viewer to transcend the ordinary.
Mozart’s classic was written in an attempt to reconcile social values in the 18th century. He was a Freemason, intent on creating a fairy-tale laden with symbolism that would appeal to his Masonic peers as well as a working class audience. The first performance of the opera was in a beer hall.
As I wandered the streets of Salzburg (Mozart’s birthplace) I was overwhelmed by the music that floated from every window in the city as tribute to its most famous composer. One can’t help but remain in awe of Mozart’s artistry and the fact that his flame burned bright yet was extinguished so quickly makes an ordinary person wonder about the price of such genius.
Magic Flute Diaries is an opportunity to contemplate the genius of a master, as seen through the eyes of a modest young singer performing in The Magic Flute, while trying to understand the maelstrom of emotions he feels when engulfed by its brilliant score. It is humbling for the lead singer, Tom, but through the experience of melding into Mozart’s world where fantasy and reality are indistinguishable, he comes to believe in his own talent and is inspired to imagine himself as part of what seems impossible at the outset.
I am grateful to have shared the experience of making such an unusual film with the likes of Rutger Hauer and the entire company of Toronto’s baroque Opera Atelier whose 18th century costumes, sets, dancers and singers are center-stage in an elaborate musical spectacle that brings to life all of the extravagance of Mozart’s time, with the energy of a contemporary pop video.