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Die Zauberflote review at Glyndebourne Sussex

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There are many ways to present The Magic Flute, and Adrian Noble’s Oriental fairy-tale production, with colourful designs by Anthony Ward, is as engaging and attractive as any. It is also wonderfully conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, who manages to combine dynamism with flexibility in a performance that benefits greatly from the period colours of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The music flows and the production flows with it.

American tenor Eric Cutler’s bright, forward tone aids him in the presentation of a winning Tamino, and Lisa Milne’s warm lyricism matches him nicely as Pamina. Canadian soprano Aline Kutan lacks some presence as the Queen of the Night but she has all the notes. As Sarastro, German bass Alfred Reiter supplies both notes and presence.

In secondary roles, Robert Lloyd sings an unusually dignified Speaker, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke is a vivid Monostatos, and Claire Ormshaw misses not a trick as Papagena.

But Mozart’s librettist, the actor/writer/singer Emanuel Schikaneder, certainly knew what he was doing when he wrote the role of Papageno for himself. To really succeed it needs, as well as the highest acting skills and vocal finesse, the ability to connect with the audience. Christopher Maltman has it all, and his command of comedy, humanity and pathos is complete. This exceptional baritone impresses more with every performance, but this is his finest achievement so far. He steals the show – and it is a very good show to steal.

Production Information

Glyndebourne, Sussex, June 21-July 10

Adrian Noble
Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Cast includes
Eric Cutler, Lisa Milne, Christopher Maltman, Aline Kutan, Alfred Reiter
Running time
5hrs 10mins (including dinner interval)

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