, November 2013
This is just about the most eye-catching, spectacular production you could wish to see, not just of The Magic Flute, but of any opera. Set on Lake Constance at the Bregenz Festival it looks simply stunning with a huge, floating domed stage surrounded by three dragons over twenty metres tall, joined by two walkway bridges. Chief Inspector Morse (aka John Thaw) described The Magic Flute as posh pantomime and this is exactly the way the work is portrayed here. It’s not just pantomime though—we have gymnastics, fireworks and enormous puppets thrown in for good measure. How on earth the cast got through the opera without falling off the steep steps and landing in the lake I don’t know.
The overture is used quite magically to set the scene.
The physical impact of the staging is a key element to this production but musically it is also very successful. It must be a huge challenge to keep the singers together with the orchestra in such a huge outdoor space, especially when the cast must also concentrate very hard on keeping their balance. This is not a production that would tolerate any cast members suffering from vertigo. Patrick Summers conducts a small ensemble drawn from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the playing is lively and alert.
This is a superb production. I can’t help thinking how much Mozart would have enjoyed this visually stunning realisation of his masterpiece. © MusicWeb International Read complete review