Thursday, 15 November 2018

New take on Magic Flute earns ovation

A NEW version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, performed by the Merry Opera Company, was staged at the Kenton Theatre

A NEW version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, performed by the Merry Opera Company, was staged at the Kenton Theatre in Henley last Saturday, and — with welcome consideration given to newcomers to opera — was sung and spoken in English.

This enjoyable adaptation was written and directed by Kit Hesketh-Harvey of Kit And The Widow fame.

He had cleverly woven the story of Mozart’s last days — burdened with illness, debt, Masonic plots and rivalry — into the original story of magic and adventure.

The result was a narrative about Mozart’s passing, combined with the music and drama of the opera itself, and it was performed with passion, comedy and a touch of pantomime.

The main roles were mostly double or even triple cast, but for me the leading performers were particularly impressive.

Tenor Glenn Tweedle from Belfast, with an extensive repertoire in concert and oratorio, was an elegant and not too powerful Mozart/Tamino, and soprano Daisy Brown was a delightful and vibrant Constanza/Pamina.

The pick for me though was Dario Dugandzic’s Schikaneder/Papagena, not only for his strong, well-controlled singing but also for his excellent pantomime-esque acting.

Although the plot seemed a little bizarre at times and difficult to follow, as it veered away from the original, this did not detract from one’s enjoyment, and a full house gave the cast an ecstatic ovation at the conclusion.

The Magic Flute

Kenton Theatre

Saturday, June 29

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