What better way to start the spring season (a tad late I know) than with my favourite Mozart opera The Magic Flute. Director James Brining brings much richness to this his first take on opera with many inventive devices and magical touches.
Kang Wang as Tamino is simply superb, living up to his regal position with finesse and grace, not to mention a vocal to die for. But the star of the show has to be Gavan Ring as Papageno, a perfect match for the role of a simple soul set on an adventure to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night.
Colin Richmond’s set starts as brilliantly as it means to go on culminating in daunting design for Sarastro’s masonic lodge. It is interesting that amongst the frequent hilarity there is also a quite profound quest for attaining the highest form of life on earth.
Robert Howarth leads the orchestra with masterful skill and the score has rarely seemed so exquisite. We are relieved of course when both Tamino and Papageno meet their perfect partners and pass the initiation test for joining Sarastro’s cult.
This is a charming rendition of a classic piece that is beguilingly complex yet under Brining’s hand has a certain naivete too.
Reviewed by Rich Jevons on 20 February 2019 at Leeds Grand Theatre. See Opera North website for tour dates.