Who pulls the strings? Mozart’s Magic Flute at Longborough

Like Glyndebourne’s recent Rinaldo, Longborough’s Magic Flute seems to take shape as a young boy’s daydream, or perhaps the world of his storybook coming to life in his imagination. A sense of dreamlike surrealism never quite fades from the stage: magic feels real in Thomas Guthrie’s vivid production, thanks to the skilful use of puppetry throughout the…

For teenage kicks: Mozart’s Lucio Silla at Buxton

Although it can’t lay claim to the emotional dexterity and acute social awareness of Mozart’s mature works, Lucio Silla is an ambitious piece which demands a great deal of its primarily soprano cast, taking as its theme the life of the Roman dictator Sulla,  though with only the most nonchalant nod to the facts of…

Preview: Opera in the City Festival

The Arts are steadily moving east in London. Nicholas Hytner is launching his new 900-seat theatre at Tower Bridge this autumn: it’s been 80 years since London theatre received such a large new forum for performance. Dalston and Hackney are brimming as ever with pop-up arts opportunities, but closer than trendy East London, the City…

Jungle drums beating true: Mozart’s Magic Flute at Iford

Director John Savournin has created a lively, accessible and stripped-down Flute for magical Wiltshire garden opera venue Iford which gives the lovers Tamino and Pamina a clear choice between the superstitious tribal culture of the Queen of the Night, and the humanist ethos of Enlightenment philosophy pioneered by the philosopher-sorcerer Sarastro. Simon Bejer‘s design takes us to the Peruvian rainforest,…

A stern Father’s Day treat: Mozart Idomeneo at Garsington

Mozart’s Idomeneo, rè di Creta is a sprawling monster of an opera; messy in its misappropriations of classical myth, and chaotic in the pacing and development of its plot, it fills a long evening by being strangely voluminous in parts and curiously bare in others. Gone are the taut sexual dynamics of Le nozze di Figaro, or the…