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English Touring Opera’s The Magic Flute

Website Culture Editor, Natalie Turco-Williams, reviews the latest production to come to the Marlowe this season – Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Thunder, lightning and possibly one of the longest trains in opera’s costume history – this was only the surface of English Touring Opera’s modern and contemporary staging of The Magic Flute. This illustrious staging was part of the company’s second tour around the UK – reviving their critically acclaimed productions that also include King Priam and Paul Bunyan. These two operas are indeed amazing but the real glass shattering high note in the company’s soprano of a tour has to be The Magic Flute.

Based on those classic fairy tales we can’t help but love, The Magic Flute is about an epic quest set by The Queen of the Night to whom she deems worthy for her daughter’s hand in marriage. Prince Tamino and his sidekick, Papageno, must save the princess, Pamina, from a guarded fortress belonging to Sarastro’s brotherhood.

However, thanks to the staging, English Touring Opera’s once upon a time isn’t just an encore of their original tour but a more sensuous and contemporary take on Mozart’s classic. Set on several levels with three archaic style doors either side of the stage – the setting, itself, is quite intriguing and innovative. In it’s deep mauve hue it creates a sultry backdrop to what is essentially a dark and enigmatic interpretation.

Though this also comes from the loveable villain. I’m not one to normally cheer for the bad guy but it was impossible not to love Samantha Hay’s Queen of the Night. Her amazing soprano voice was on key, on time and thrillingly beautiful. In her rendition of ‘O zittre niche, mien lieber Sohn’ her voice and presence was more than captivating in her execution of such an iconic role.

As amazing as Hay was, another stand out performance was Wyn Pencarreg’s Papageno which was just as exquisite. His cheeky gusto and perfect comedic timings were the happily ever after to what was Wyn’s fine interpretation of Papageno. The rest of the cast including Tamino, played by Ashley Catling and Pamina played by Annabel Mountford were enchanting and prominent. But the real magic of the performance came from Samantha Hay’s and Wyn Pencarreg’s portrayal of their characters.


Check out the rest of the tour dates here:


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