THE MAGIC FLUTE from The Royal Opera

Sung play in two acts with music by Wolfgang A. Mozart and a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder

In a production by the Royal Opera

Director: David McVicar

Conductor: Colin Davis

Designer: John Macfarlane


Tamino: William Hartmann

Pamina: Dorothea Roschmann

Papageno: Simon Keenlyside

Sarastro: Franz Joseph Selig

Queen of the Night: Diana Damrau

Speaker: Thomas Allen

Papagena: Ailish Tynan

Monostatos: Adrian Thompson

Three Ladies: Gillian Webster, Christine Rice, Yvonne Howard

Two Priests: Mathew Beale, Richard Van Allan

Two Men in Armor: Alan Oke, Graeme Broadbent

Three Spirits: Zico Shaker, Tom Chapman, John Holland-Avery

The Royal Opera production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute mines the fantastical aspects of the story while preserving the humanity of the characters, especially the “working class” ones. Even Gillian Webster, Christine Rice, and Yvonne Howard, the three ladies who serve the Queen of the Night become in the guiding hands of director David Mc Vicar three delightfully manipulative, randy gossips. The Papageno of Simon Keenlyside is common man personified: a wily as a fox yet vulnerable survivor, and he can sing with the very best of them.

William Hartmann’s Tamino is beset by rough patches in the high tessitura of the Bildniss aria, at best vocally in the heroic moments. Dorothea Roschmann, in her youthful prime is the perfect Mozart soprano is fresh voiced and honest in her acting. The Queen of the Night of Diana Damrau is evil incarnate, her singing faultless and often exciting. The Sarastro of Franz Joseph Selig is nobly sung, the Speaker of Thomas Allen perfect in all aspects.

The production design is superbly realized with 18th century costumes worn against a multi-colored background, the use of animal puppets sheer delight.

Colin Davis conducts with complete mastery of the Mozart score, allowing his soloists plenty of flexibility.

This, in short, is yet another immensely satisfying offering in the Royal Opera Collection.

This DVD is part of the Royal Opera Collection (  OA1337BD / OABD7291BD).    

Rafael de Acha    ALL ABOUT THE ARTS