Three cheers for this delightful children’s version of THE MAGIC FLUTE by Oz Opera, the educational side of Opera Australia. Bright, bold and colourful the show is enormous fun. Both adults and children loved it, with the children asking plenty of questions in the Q & A session afterwards.
The production is a heavily cut version ( just on an hour) of Mozart’s much loved opera , sung by a small cast with piano accompaniment. It is sung in English which makes it very accessible for young school kids. The complicated plot is clearly told with the famous arias included.
The small cast were magnificent, in glorious voice and they performed with relish and gusto. The show featured audience participation, with the kids helping the Lady with her spells, and acting as echoes to Papageno’s pipes.
The set was small and simple, primarily two ‘rocks’ and a couple of curtains and doors. There was a kind of panto feel to the Monster, who whilst tall, is not really scary, – rather more like Dorothy the Dinosaur.
Her Majesty the Queen of the Night (Regina Daniel) is imposing and sparkly in black and silver with long black gloves, an elegant villainess who superbly handles the famous, very difficult, showy coloratura fireworks in the big aria.
Sarastro is mostly in beige or white (Obi Wan like) .He is aloof and scary at first with his marvellous deep bass voice but turns out to be a ‘goodie’ . What is the symbolism of the gold breastplate he wears? The Masonic ideas and symbolism are still kept in this version. Tamino still has to try the three doors, of Wisdom, Love and Truth. Hieroglyphs decorate the various door portals and the doors are painted yellow and turquoise, depicting the shift between day and night
As Papageno, Ashley Giles is brilliant, a compelling Pied Piper with his pipes and birdcage. His interaction with the children in the audience before the show started was delightful. His motley colourful costume included a scattering of feathers to camouflage him as part of his job,- catching birds for the Queen of the Night. Papageno is played as if a Hobitt, a not very bright, impulsive homebody who does not want any adventures but gets them anyway! Papagena , his long wished for girlfriend gloriously sung by Regina Daniel, is sort of dressed as if hippie/flower power inspired and she wears a large orange flower in her hair. Their rhythmic stuttering ‘Papageno/Papagena.. ‘ duet is charming.
As Prince Tamino Kaine Hayward is splendid , in fabulous voice and he looks like he is straight out of a fairy tale book. Princess Pamina (Alice Girle) is sweetly beautiful in a long blue gown .Once she has met and fallen in love with Tamino she proves strong, controlled and determined. At the end Tamino and Pamina wear gold and white ceremonial robes for their coronation, symbolising they have passed all of Sarastro’s tests ( silence, water, fire…) .
A splendid way of introducing young kids to opera. Bravo!
Opera Australia’s Oz Operas’ THE MAGIC FLUTE with a running time of one hour and fifteen minutes played the Concourse Chatswood for one night only Wednesday July 10.