Oscar Movies: Magic Flute, The (1975)–Bergman’s Masterful Filmed Opera

Ingmar Bergman adapted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute to the big screen in 1975, resulting in one of the most effective and enjoyable operas on screen, far superior to Joseph Losey’s Don Giovanni.

The opera was filmed for Swedish TV by the brilliant cinematographer, Sven Nykvist.

The opera is offered in a highly stylized theatrical event, but the fluid camera work makes it into a purely cinematic experience.

Sung in Swedish, the libretto remains as ever a gentle parody of the initiation ceremonies of the Masons, offered as an other-worldly fantasy involving a kidnapped princess (Irma Urrila), a vengeful Queen of the Night (Birgit Nordin), and a wanderer who plays the titular flute.

Bergman offers backstage views of the performers as well as reaction shots of the viewers.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Costume Design: Henry Noremark and Karin Erskine

Oscar Nominations: 1

Costume design: Henny Noremark and Karin Erskine

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Costume Oscar went to Ulla-Britt Soderland and Milena Canonero for Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.


Running time: 134 minutes.

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman

Adapted by Ingmar Bergman and Emanuel Schikaneder

Released: November 11, 1975.

DVD: May 16, 2000