The Magic Flute

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Theatre Royal

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

> Norwich Theatre Royal

The Magic Flute is a musical fairy tale. The story is a delight with its succession of the most varied scenes played out by vivid, memorable characters, not to mention a whole menagerie of animals who respond fully to the emotions.

Mozart, at the top of his form, translates everything into music.

Alternately charmed and stirred, amused and alarmed, the audience finally relaxes and rejoices in the most satisfactory of conclusions.

Beneath the sparkling surface, thoughts run deep. Masonic symbolism may be one key to understanding.

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It is probably enough though, to take the great message of humanity and harmony of the replacement of revenge by the power of love.

The odd anti-feminist comment can be set aside. With Alexander Briger conducting the orchestra, Adrian Noble is rightly content with the production for Glyndebourne Touring Opera that avoids the pitfalls of over interpretation.

With surtitles helping with any problems over the German text, there is enough here for meaning to come across without a lot of emphasis or overt allusions to modern affairs.

Graeme Broadbent is a powerful High Priest, noble and grave without being personified or too old and the two Armoured Men make a magnificent sight. So do the boys, on a bicycle made for three.

Lubana Al Quntar is a hair-raising Queen of the Night as she leaps up to the stratosphere, while Toby Stafford-Allen in quite a different vein as Papageno adds a lot of almost innocent fun.

Valerie Condoluci is a Pamina who is bound to win hearts.

Peter Wedd is her Tamino, a little strained at first and, for some reason, denied the manner and appearance of a true Prince Charming.

Quite as impressive is the use of symbolism. Fire and water and, even more significantly darkness and light, express the essence of this enthralling myth.

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