The Magic Flute at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire

A review by Nicholas Newman

The Magic Flute at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire
The Magic Flute at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire

For many Mozart’s Magic Flute is connected with the television series Inspector Morse and Young Morse, less so with a fight between good and evil. Though one thing is certain, the Opera Anywhere performance in the covered amphitheater Waterperry House of Mozart’s Magic Flute was exceptional and certainly entertaining.

The simplicity of the performance, enable one to fully appreciate the plot and the quality of the singing. Director Susan Moore had taken a fairy-tale approach to the work, almost a dream in the mind of Tamino, where singers move role with ease and the unexpected is simply accepted. Doubling the three ladies with the three boys was particularly effective, the Sesame Street boy puppets being delightful as well as creating distinctive personalities.

The use of modern dress was certainly effective, I especially enjoyed the arias sung by the Queen of the Night character, dressed as a fading British celebrity, performed by Helen Winter.

The Magic Flute at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire
The Magic Flute at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire

As for Tamino, sung by Tristan Stocks’ and  Pamina portrayed by Catrin Lewis it was a pleasure to see how they went through the classic trials and tribulations of coming of age. Certainly, they are well-rounded performers.

Although, for many, the most interesting performance was by Oskar McCarthy, who plays a fascinating Papageno, strong on humour without over-egging his opportunities, in contrast to Mark Horner’s stalwart Sarastro.

Meanwhile, for many, the best singing of the evening was by Dale Harris, he is a great lyrical tenor who played Monostatos and doubled for various priests. He gave us some of the finest Mozart singing of the evening.

This performance was accompanied throughout by Louisa Lam on piano and keyboard, and Nick Planas on flute, Rosie Burchett on Cello, the additional sound effects were always apt. By Nick Planas.

I must say it was a great afternoon performance, which was enjoyed by all. However, the seating accommodation despite the cushions provided, made it a bit uncomfortable, next I will bring my own garden chairs and an insulated cool box to keep the drinks cool.

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