The Magic Flute, Mozart’s magical singspiel rooted in fairy tale heroes and damsels in distress, is presented by Scottish Opera in Glasgow before touring Scotland and showing in London and Belfast later this year. Sir Thomas Allen’s five-star production is revival of that shown in 2012 and is sung in English with English supertitles.
Inspired by Glasgow during the height of it’s industrial power in the 19th century and complete with a fantastic part steampunk, part masonic lodge set the visuals associated with this production are impressive. The costuming, including light-up filament bulb top hats, impressive corsetry and crowns that would make any aspiring princess green with envy, instantly draws the audience into this fantasy land of clockwork serpents and intrigue.
It’s little wonder The Magic Flute remains one of the most popular operas, thanks to it’s accessible, almost pantomime like, moments – in this production skillfully delivered by Richard Burkhard’s cheeky, charming yet lovelorn Papageno. Burkard’s intermittent breaking of the fourth wall to make quibs and jibes makes the audience feel all the more included in the unfolding japes and caused ripples of laughter throughout the opera.
Musically – the entirety of The Magic Flute is a real treat. The Orchestra of Scottish Opera are on fine form in this production, artfully led by Anthony Moffat, beguiling the audience throughout. The duets between Tamino – sung by Peter Gijsbertsen and Pamina (Gemma Summerfield) are full of longing and love – expressing the best and worst parts of fairytales – a handsome Prince rescuing a damsel in distress, and unrequited love.
The Queen of the Night and her ladies are without a doubt high point of the production. Quirky and camp in their delivery, and exceptionally skilled in their vocals, Bethan Langford, Jeni Bern and Sioned Gwen Davies make a marvellously mischievous trio, while the Queen, Julia Sitkovetsky sings her famous Act II aria perfectly, full of impassioned rage – dramatic and impressive all at once.
This production is magical, marvellous and not to be missed.