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


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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