As a theatre lover, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Thursday evening than enjoying a show by the English Touring Opera at the Lighthouse in Poole. The Magic Flute is weird and wonderful comedy about values with music by Mozart.
The story follows Prince Tamino, who is rescued by three ladies in waiting to the queen whilst fleeing a monster. As he recovers from his ordeal he is approached by the queen’s bird catcher, Papageno who pretends to be his saviour. Tamino is shown a picture of the queen’s daughter, Pamina who the queen promises her hand to if he rescues her from her kidnapper, Sarastro. Armed with a magic flute, Papageno and his magic bells and three boys to guide them to Sarastro’s fortress, they head off to save Pamina. What challenges will they come up against along their journey? And will Tamino be her prince in shining armour?
Although at times the story is difficult to follow with its complexity, it makes for a very interesting piece of both opera and theatre joined both hand in hand. The way the sets lit up were very imaginative and moody and cast an eerie atmosphere, which was perfect for all of the mysterious goings –ons!
The queen’s three ladies in waiting had voices of angels and offered a humour that had the audience laughing out loud. The costumes were divine, although some looked like remodelled lamp shades which added extra comedic value to the performance, I must say!
The bird catcher was a complete show stealer of a character; I really felt that the actor played him down to a tee with added charm and humour. Sarastro’s golden robes were suitably regal and he added an extra heir to the word villain.
Both the singing and the orchestra were a joy to hear and offered a highly entertaining evening. As a whole The Magic Flute was well received by a very appreciative audience, and I would highly recommend the show to everyone – whether you’re an opera fan or not!
Words by Tracy Boxall
Photo taken from the English Touring Opera’s website