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The Magic Flute

Date

6th May 2017

Society

The City Of Manchester Opera

Venue

Hope Mill Theatre

Type of Production

Opera

Director

Nigel Machin

Musical Director

Juan Ortuño

Report

Author: Bill Platt

The story itself is quite light hearted and almost pantomimic with fighting the baddies, falling in love and a happily ever after. 

Taking place on almost a blank canvas, it needed other things to lift it and bring it to life. The costumes, make up and the need of some impressive props were some of the most vital ingredients to the production and were indeed excellent. Papageno’s music box, the Queen of the Night’s headwear and the platform shoes of the knights were some of the standouts.

The plotting of bodies around the confining set was a work of art, especially when the whole ensemble appeared towards the end of the production.

The Opera takes place in 12 scenes and the transformation from each was effortless and in good time, apart from a missing tree at the back, a problem which was quickly rectified so that the Moons appearance could be saved.

Dean Parker as Tamino looked great as the handsome prince and sang well with a wonderfully expressive face which wasn’t as expressive when delivering lines as it was when he sang. However, a very good performance.

As the excellent three ladies - Fiona Harrison, Kate Cubley and Laura Wood were terrific with dynamic vocals and physicality around the space. Comical and terrifying in equal measure.

I loved the way the three boys drifted across the stage, moving so gracefully - Laura, Andreja and Isobel were another fine ensemble act.

A brilliant performance and animated throughout was Peter Edge as Papageno – a terrific singer and some good comical delivery. This character has to be lively and Peter certainly was that with a good use of the space and facial expressions which made this a memorable performance.

Samantha Chambers made this role her own and blew the roof off with her epic voice as the Queen Of The Night. A superb performance with special mention to her wonderful make-up and costume accessories which finished off the portrayal of the character excellently.  

Sarah Rawley played Pamina, the beautiful girl who falls in love with Tamino. Sarah brought this character to life with great singing, physicality and facial expressions offering a very enjoyable performance overall.

Menacing and comedic in equal measure was Chris Elliott as Monostatos, reminding me of a medieval Alan Carr! Terrific stage presence, a wonderful performance.

Undoubtedly the professor of a very good voice and had some of the best costumes as far as the male characters go but I couldn’t quite believe Martin Cassell as Sarastro. This performance needs more contrast as we mistake him to be a bad guy and later realise he’s good which didn’t quite come across enough due to the lack of differentiation between the two.

The chorus offered a massive contribution to the production both on and off the stage. The logistics of getting them all on and off was impressive and it goes without saying that the vocals were quite fabulous.

The show was a delight! Nigel deserves credit for the direction which is so unlike the other works of his that I’ve become accustomed to. The lighting and sound contributed to the success of the overall performance nicely too.

The band, under the conducting hand of Juan Ortuno were also excellent, many congratulations.