OPERA REVIEW: Little Maestro’s epic with absolutely everything

The Royal Opera House production, The Magic Flute, with Siobhan Stagg as Pamina and Mauro Peter as Tamino.  Photo by Mark Douet.
The Royal Opera House production, The Magic Flute, with Siobhan Stagg as Pamina and Mauro Peter as Tamino. Photo by Mark Douet.
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The Magic Flute, Royal Opera House Live, South Holland Centre, Spalding

The opening bars of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote in German) has gone done in TV history as the music that introduced the world to Inspector Morse.

But David McVicar’s, the Royal Opera House production of the operatic classic takes on a life of its own.

Prince Tamino (Swiss tenor Mauro Peter) promises the Queen of the Night (French soprano Sabine Devieilhe) that he will rescue her daughter Pamina (Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg) from the enchanter Sarastro (Finnish bass singer Mika Kares).

However, Tamino has to take along bird-catcher Papageno (baritone Roderick Williams) who is more of a hindrance than a help in Tamino’s quest for Pamina.

But instead of being a villain, Sarastro is a wise and generous leader who puts Tamino and Papageno through three tests in order to find their true loves, Tamino with Pamina and Papageno with Papagena (Austrian soprano Christina Gansch).

It seems barely believable that classical music, opera, drama and comedy can work together.

But McVicar’s production manages it in a way that confirms revival director Thomas Guthrie’s views about the enduring appeal of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Guthrie said: “You never get tired of it, the world is never tired of it and I can’t imagine it ever will.”

Review by Winston Brown

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