Crowds flooded into the Grand Opera House last night to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The theatre was completely sold out with disappointed theatre goers being turned away at the box office in their attempts to get last minute tickets. I’ve never been to an opera and quite frankly I thought they were only for the posh and elderly but I couldn’t have been more wrong, people of all ages flocked into the theatre to see this beautiful comedy about love and wisdom.
The show was written over 200 years ago but Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s English libretto brings this show to the 21st century, even with the victorian steampunk-esque setting the hilarious one-liner’s will have any modern day audience dying with laughter.
The set is stunning, with light pouring in through the holes in the side of the clockwork cladded walls. It takes you into a not a certain time but a dreamscape almost free from time, some of the clothing resembles elements of the victorian era but the setting is simply beyond the known world. Speaking of clothing, Simon Higlett’s designs are wonderful, bringing out each character perfectly in their individuality.
The opera itself focuses on a prince named Tamino (Peter Gijbertsen) in his deadly but comdeic quest to save Pamina (Gemma Summerfield). Peter was spectacular in his role as the sweet love-struck prince, leading the audience into this adventure magic flute in hand, he had a voice you could listen to forever and never get sick of.
Whilst the entire cast were incredible in their roles a special shout out has to go to James Ceverton as Papageno, I was lucky to see him on one of his 4 dates on the tour (June 20,22,27 & 29) as the hilarious bird catching involuntary sidkick to Tamino who is desperate for love. Ceverton’s energetic performance and perfect comedic timing really made the entire show.
Under Sir Thomas Allen’s direction this astonishing opera has really been given a makeover for the present day while still maintaining the heart and sensational music of the original german show. It’s thoroughly entertaining and not to be missed.