Scottish Opera: The Magic Flute - Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 19 Oct 2012 (4 stars)

Scottish Opera: The Magic Flute, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 19 Oct

Industrial-themes production brings fun and vitality to Mozart’s well-loved score

First seen in 1791, in the latter years of the Age of Enlightenment, there is much in Scottish Opera’s new production of Mozart’s Magic Flute that brings its influence to mind. Right from the orchestral overture there is a sense of the excitement of new ways of looking at the world. It is, however, the industrial times of mining and ship-building in Glasgow and from director Sir Thomas Allen’s Northumberland heritage, which are more overtly apparent in a staging which brings fun and vitality to Mozart’s well-loved score.

Reminiscent of how Baldrick plays sidekick to Lord Blackadder, Richard Burkhard’s Papageno made the most of Kit Hesketh-Harvey’s brilliant new translation as wit and repartee passed between his captivating and ceaselessly endearing birdman portrayal and Nicky Spence’s impressively accomplished Prince Tamino, sung with beautiful lyricism and sensitivity from the re-emerging young Scottish tenor.

It’s a Magic Flute which looks pretty good too. Dramatic from the start, the Queen of the Night appears as if on a TV talent show with LED lit-up dress, while the Three Boys, selected from the National Youth Choir of Scotland Boys Choir, are all in white, twirling parasols while suspended in mid-air.

What comes over most of all though is the sheer joy and delight of the music, conducted by Ekhart Wycik making his Scottish Opera main stage debut, with a genuine desire from all performing to share it with the audience. In Glasgow, they evidently seemed to love pretty much everything seen and heard.

The Magic Flute, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 16, Sun 18, Tue 20, Thu 22, Sat 24 November.

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