New Polish For A Magic Flute

Mozart’s The Magic Flute

Theatre Severn

Monday 23rd October 2017

 

If there is one opera company that is guaranteed to fill Theatre Severn it is the highly appealing Opera Up Close company. Having already wowed audiences in the past with Carmen and La Boheme, the opera under the microscope this time is Mozart’s, The Magic Flute.

To try and explain the synopsis of the Magic Flute would take  all night as there are twists and turns at every corner, to say it concerns the magic of sleep, the joys and torments of love and the mischief that plagues us all when it comes to affairs of the heart would be pretty near to the mark.

Maybe the complex storyline presented problems when Glyn Maxwell the Librettist got together with Orchestrator Alex Beetschen as of the three mentioned this one is by far the most difficult to follow as far as story lines go. If one had no notion of the original storyline then there is a danger that the narrative might elude you. It did lack clarity.

Reliant on a rotational piece of scenery that represents the door way to The Queen Of The Night nightclub,  and on rotation any room or space they need it was simplistic, but well designed. However the constant rotations were somewhat distracting to the end and pulled focus off the storyline

To stage left there was a four piece orchestra. Can an orchestra comprise on four, you ask? This one can. With Keys, Guitars, Woodwind and Double Bass section the score was played beautifully and presented sublime backing to some of the dreamiest arias ever written. Even if they did cause a slight unbalance where they were situated.

It is difficult to hear any Mozart with thinking of the sorrow of his life. One thinks on his avant-garde approach and the tragedy of his penniless death. All that is in there and he speaks to us of a time when composers and musicians were considered lower than the collector of Dog faeces for the tanning industry, or that of a street crossing sweeper. Life was tough but we all know out of adversity comes some of the finest art ever. Couldn’t imagine him dying penniless today!

Whilst the storyline was somewhat confusing as dreams are; listening to the clarity of the beauty of the voices being used as instruments, running up to the top notes and sliding back down for the lower is a most engaging way to spend an evening. Opera up Close always achieve that. The notes seemed like fairylights  dripping luxuriously off the cord that wrapped around this elegant production.

With a brief to bring opera to the masses in a way that maybe was unheard of before, Opera Up Close is achieving that on a fantastic scale. To contemporize and play with Opera in the way that they do is bound to bring the art form to a wider audience. That is already proven as they are spoken with such affection through the field.

If there is a company that one can rely on to demystify and to dispel the smacks of elitism that some would wrongly attach to Opera, then this is the company to do it. We have a rich heritage of Opera. Maybe a trip to the ENO might be fun for a birthday but at over £70.00 for a standby ticket I know who I would rather go and watch and I feel safe in the knowledge that my choice will present as ever, a great evening’s opera. Long may they continue to do so.

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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