Mozart’s The Magic Flute returns to the Opera House in a production that must be one of the most visually spectacular of all time.
The combined talents of George Tsypin (set designer), Gary Marder (lighting designer) and Julie Taymor (original director, costume designer and along with Michael Curry, puppet designer), create an ethereal domain on the all-too-small opera stage, with plenty of depth, a playful chiaroscuro of light and shadows, and the most fantastic puppets, masks and costumes.
The huge dancing bears are a particular favourite with the youthful audience, although the dancers wearing flamingo heads also took one’s breath away, while my personal favourite was the three ladies of the night with their superb harmonies and removable masks.
Taryn Fiebig reprises her role as Pamina, and John Longmuir looks every part the noble Asiatic prince in his role as her lover Tamino, the protégé of the high priest Sarastro, sung in resounding bass by Daniel Sumegi.
Hannah Dahlenburg confidently performed the breathtakingly difficult coloratura role of the wicked Queen of the Night, Samuel Dundas and Katherine Wiles play Papageno and Papagena with charm and humour, and Kanen Breen reprises his comic role as the odious Monostatos, who resembles a portly bumble bee.
Based on the Metropolitan Opera production directed by the Taymor, this shortened version of 100 minutes is the perfect entertainment for first-time opera goers, including children, but must be seen by anyone who wants to experience a truly original, and gorgeous, production of this much-loved work. (ID)
Until Jan 16. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. $44-$149. Tickets & info: opera.org.au