Left - Andrew Goodwin (Tamino) fighting the dragon. Cover - Andrew Moran (Papageno) and Andrew Goodwin (Tamino) with the Three Ladies. Photos - Jeff
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) is an enchanted fairy-tale love story that captures your imagination and sweeps you up in a world of witches and dragons.
A jungle forest of tangled vines, fluttering butterflies, leaping frogs, and curious creatures twisting in the tree-tops, is the fantasy setting of David Freeman’s production (revived by Cathy Dadd for this season). The audience is pushed straight into the pages of a children’s story book, with all its weird wonder, intrigue, and excitement.
Dan Potra’s design is fantastic, creating a beautifully vivid and brilliant aesthetic. The world created is somewhere between Wicked, Alice in Wonderland, and Narnia. Trees come to life, otherworldly bodies writhe and creep in the shadows, a disjointed dragon flashes, the Queen of the Night sails on a luminous crescent moon, characters appear from the sky and behind and within walls – this world is not our own, it is a floating fantasy.
The costume design (created by Potra with assistance by Rebecca Ritchie) complements and completes the picture-book creation. Tamino (Andrew Goodwin) is the regal Japanese prince, Pamina (Sarah Crane) the pretty-in-pink princess, the Queen of the Night (Lorina Gore) the glittering icy snow-queen. The characters are animated Disney creations, painted in rich and vibrant colours.
Originally devised as a collaboration with Legs on the Wall physical theatre company, this production exploits the strangeness and mystery that is found when the physical possibilities of the human body are stretched. The constant presence of shadowy grey-clad figures and shaggy creeping creatures created a sense of the sinister; the lurking evil working against the good and the inevitable happy ending between the lovers.
The beauty and success of Freeman’s production is found in its creation of this elaborate fantastical world as a platform for Mozart’s magnificent musical score. The charm of Mozart’s composition, with its blend of Singspiel, opera seria, and opera buffa, was realised in perfect complement with the design.
The vocal performances and contrasts of style, both from the soloists and the ensemble, were executed with great skill, bringing new life to Mozart’s famous music. The highlight was Andrew Moran’s VB drinking, finger-licking chicken eating Papageno, the Queen’s bird-catcher. It was delightful to watch and listen as Moran shifted between an ocker Australian accent in the spoken text, to his warm German baritone. What could be more magical than the depiction of Papageno as an Aussie bogan singing in German?
Opera Australia’s production of The Magic Flute is an absolute delight.
Opera Australia presents
The Magic Flute
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in German with English dialogue and surtitles
Director David Freeman
Venue: State Theatre, the Arts Centre
Evenings at 7.30pm – April 4, 9, 16, 18, 21, 23, 30; May 6, 8
Matinee at 1pm –- May 2
Duration: 2 hours & 55 minutes with one 30-minute interval
Free Opera Talks: April 16, 21, 30 – 45 minutes before performances
Tickets: $55 - $229 | A children’s price of $45-$50 is available for all performances
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136 166, the Arts Centre Box Office or www.opera-australia.org.au