A lion reading a newspaper. A gigantic lobster-like creature. An eccentric bird catcher. Bright orange suits. What do they have in common? The wonderful story that is The Magic Flute.
Part of the Welsh National Opera‘s (WNO) spring 2019 season currently playing at Bristol Hippodrome, The Magic Flute is two and a half hours of pure escapism.
The opera is the story of Tamino who wakes up in a bizarre world and is attacked by a monster. After being rescued by three ladies, he meets Papageno, the bird catcher, and together they are sent to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. From there, much adventure ensues and all sorts of weird and wonderful characters appear including that lion reading the newspaper!
For many people, opera has a stuffy and elitist reputation. If you are one of those people, you need to see this performance which proves that’s not true!
Within seconds we knew we were in for a treat. A gigantic claw appeared from one of nine doors on the stage. Then another. Then the head. From that moment we were transfixed by the bizarre dream-like experience that is this classic opera.
It has laughs. It has drama. And it has Mozart’s sublime score performed masterfully by the WNO orchestra.
The cast were clearly having a ball and the staging is superb. Everything centres around doors with walls moved up and down to change perspective and create new worlds. With the black surround, it’s like you’ve tuned into a fantastical movie on a gigantic TV screen.
With an easy to understand story that’s sung in English (with subtitles if you miss the odd line), this performance of the Magic Flute is perfect for opera newbies but regulars will love it too.
The Welsh National Opera’s Roberto Devereux is tonight (12 April) with another performance of The Magic Flute tomorrow (13 April) at Bristol Hippodrome.
Images by Bill Cooper