Quick and not quite magical looks: Die Zauberflöte

Ekaterina Siurina as Pamina and Albina Shagimuratova as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte © ROH / Mike Hoban 2013This current sold out run of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) at the Royal Opera is a curiosity that veers from being full of life to being a drag (and back again). It makes for a night out, but not a particularly magical one. There is some fine singing (although not from everyone) and the occasional wonderful set piece, but the end result is that this production lacks a bit of fun and comedic timing that you would hope to see.

Conductor Julia Jones often takes things at a slow pace which makes the evening seem much longer than necessary. While it gives a new appreciation for the music it does feel at times to be a bit of an academic exercise.

The under-lit production, full of Freemason imagery to labour underscore the plot, does not help and there was a curious choice to make Albina Shagimuratova as Queen of the Night sing her signature aria in act two kneeling on top of a bed (as above). Not quite the grand spectacle I imagined for here, even if she sounds incredible and had the audience applauding her. While many consider this production lavish, after ten years it does not feel like it is ageing well and feels a bit dated.

The run is dedicated to Sir Colin Davis, who passed away recently and an emotional dedication was delivered by Antonio Pappano before the start. It completes it season on 9 May. Photo credit: Mike Hoban.

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