A Less Than Stellar Magic Flute

Anonymous*, Age 15

The space age adaptation of The Magic Flute by W.A. Mozart and presented by Opera Lyra at the Almonte Old Town Hall, is best appreciated as a fitting introduction to opera for young children. Oversimplified and sugared up, however, it was not satisfying fare for the more mature viewer; although in fairness, I would have had nightmares at a young age had I seen a more authentic version. It was performed entirely in English with spoken explanations of the songs acted between them. Very accessible to the young, it certainly has the power to help them enjoy this genre.

The most outstanding performance was the Queen of the Night, sung fabulously and played in a deliciously evil manner by Ania Hejnar, who seemed to be performing with an audience of every age in mind. Sadly, in another classically cloying children’s twist, she is converted into disappointing goodness in the end. The others were engaging in typical children’s performance style, but did not convey as much depth and presence.

The set was brilliant and ingenious, maze-like with many wings, placed on the same floor as the audience in this no-frills, intimate, unpretentious travelling-style setup. The Sun and Moon planets were distinguished effectively by a rotating orb set on the very top of one of the walls. The cast of four was cleverly employed by stage director Alex Sideris to cover several characters, including large puppets from behind the wings of the set.

The children’s chorus is cute and sings well, representing Sarastro and his wise council, but they seemed a little under rehearsed, even for children-being discreetly signalled to and led around by the professionals. All in all, The Magic Flute is good for what itis, a children’s matinee, but it did not bring me over the moon.

[*Editor’s Note: I am choosing to respect my student’s request that their name not be published alongside their review]