has plucked actors from the opera world for his feature
adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Joseph
Kaiser, Ben Davis, Rene Pape, Lyubov Petrova, and newcomer
Amy Carson have been cast in the lead roles.
Flute chronicles the adventures of Prince
Tamino (Kaiser) and his sidekick, Papageno the bird
seller (Davis), as they battle evil forces to rescue
Princess Pamina (Carson). Pape will play Sarastro, the wise
priest, while Petrova will portray Queen Elizabeth of
the Night. Mozart wrote the two-act opera, one of his
last works, in 1791. He died in December 1791, just
two months after it premiered in Vienna.
Branagh and gay
British actor-writer-director Stephen Fry wrote the
adaptation. The actors will record the music in the fall,
then shoot the film in January. The budget is about
$20 million. Kaiser is an emerging opera star who has
performed at New York's Lincoln Center and is a member
of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago.
Davis appeared on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann's La
Boheme, Les Miserables, and Thoroughly
. He is a rising baritone on the stage scene.
German-born Pape is a leading bass who has toured with the
Metropolitan Opera in New York and was named vocalist
of the year in 2002 by Musical America. (Borys Kit,