The Magic Flute

Date 13th April 2018
Society North Norfolk Chamber Opera
Venue Auden Theatre, Greshams School, Hol
Type of Production Musical
Director Sky Carver
Musical Director Susie Self

Report

Author: Sue Dupont

Now rare productions in opera to view, as you said in programme you are alone in Norfolk and long may you continue (especially with your excellent houses).

A very Egyptian feel to the whole project and I needed to read the programme in more detail at home to appreciate the ethos and style of the production and how clever the interpretation, that excellent set which was perfect for the piece, and all those different masks and costumes (design for both set and costumes Gift of Colour), a lot of research and work gone into the background before presentation on stage. Sky Carver had her vision of what she wanted in this slightly different and stylised production and how well it realised.

 What an atmospheric beginning with that excellent seven-piece chamber orchestra, arranged Michael Christie, in bringing the Mozart to life with such subtle and mellow tones, a joy to listen to, and under the baton of Susie Self/Robert Christie we were in for a treat with this opera; how fortunate NNCO to have this professional input.

Liked the dialogue giving the story link, words clear and kept us to date with story, liked the very professional entrances and positioning of those involved, giving the real feel of the hieroglyphs as wanted for style. I had been concerned that the size of the company might give problems in the casting but that was worked well as there were some additions to the company, and the pictures with those costumes and set gave the desired atmosphere.

Robert Christie both conducting and singing Tamino, found difficult to begin with but adjusted as work continued, good presence and style, although must have made some relationships difficult at beginning rehearsals. Newcomer Katalin Prentice as Pamina looked delightful and sang with good tone and acting appreciation of her situation. Desmond Holmes (multi-talented with his trebling roles) was an unpleasant schemer and would-be seducer as Monastatos, and as usual so reliable in all his notes. David Hart as Sarastro had all those gravel notes to add to his height and presence for his role.  And as Queen of Night, Sky Carver managed all the coloratura with those very high notes as well as the direction of the piece.

The story unfolded well under the manipulation of the Three Ladies, Samantha Hawkins, Kay Holmes, Lorraine Carver, and the calmer and more protective guiding light Spirits, Katherine Jones, Molly Percival, Berni Alexandriou, all strong in the vocal lines. The Speaker, Men in Armour, Priests well covered by Tim Gatti and Guy Hewitt. And the Slaves Christine Blakemore, Tracey Temple, Cindy Grimes added to those glorious harmonies in the big company sequences.

And the show stealer for presence and acting, for a great interpretation and that wonderful mellow voice, the underlying humour so well expressed, Andrew Masterson’s Papageno was a joy of hearing and light throughout, a performance to relish and enjoy so much. And we waited so long, but it was worth the wait for that fun, light and delightful, with voice in tune, and appearance perfect, for the Papagena of Melissa Sampson: what a great couple they made.