sat 18/11/2017

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera | reviews, news & interviews

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

A classic production has lost none of its magic

Orpheus and his flute: Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) soothes the elements with his magical music

“Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light – were all like workings of one mind.” Writing almost a century after Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Wordsworth was still contemplating the essential duality of the sublime – that greatest of Enlightenment legacies. Rationalism, order and science, we are reminded, are only the admissible part of an age that would also beget the sinister fantasies of Romanticism and the Gothic – those most pernicious of bastard offspring. It is in exposing this messily contingent relationship between the light of truth and the shadows of superstitious doubt that David McVicar’s Die Zauberflöte still triumphs. As for moving beyond duality into resolution however – we’re still left hanging.

Christopher Maltman’s Papageno – charmingly weak-willed, but whose easy comedy lacked the pathos of Keenlyside’s Feste-esque interpretation

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It's not often that we leave Covent Garden before the end. But it was a bum numb-er! Kate Royal's Pamina was the only performance which was at the level one expects at the ROH. Royal "fuhl"ed, then we fled. Much of the blame must go down to Colin Davis's lumpen speeds.

Went on Saturday 26 Feb, terrible, didn't enjoy any of it and this is my fave opera. It felt like we were at a run through rather than a show we paid good money for. I wish I had gone home at the interval. No-one wanted to come in on time, and no-one including the orchestra was actually following the conductor - who seemed to be in his own little world, waving randomly about. Many words were muffled at the beginning of a phrase which was really annoying, the talking was louder than the singing - I've never noticed that before, it was quite disconcerting. There seemed to be something wrong with the lighting - the 3 ladies disappeared into the stage several times - I am sure that they should have been well lit in order to stand out but from where we were sitting the lights just didn't work. Very clunky production, with stagehands dressed in blue and moving and handing things around, but no finesse to them. Finally, absolutely no humour. The audience did laugh - but a lot of people laugh to show that they understand the joke and not because it is being portrayed in a funny manner. Would love to get my money back - but I don't know if you can for this sort of thing.

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