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York Opera Presents – The Magic Flute

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is an absolute classic by every means. His music is so unique that it can be easily recognised even if you are not a connoisseur of classical music. The Magic Flute is probably one of the best known of the 22 operas the Austrian genius composed during his short life. The premiere of the performance in 1791 in Vienna was conducted by Mozart himself just two months before his death. Although, there were no reviews of the first performance, by November 1792 the opera celebrated its 100th performance which is an obvious sign of success.

The story of the Magic Flute plays a very important role in my love of classical music and makes me smile every time I hear it. Around the age of 10, my sister and I had a period for a couple of months when we would not listen to anything else apart from the Magic Flute. We had our shiny red CD player in our room and every day we would listen to Mozart’s music alongside the story of Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto, told by a famous actor. Going to bed, what else we could have listened to apart from the Magic Flute? Even when our environment begged for us to listen to something else, nothing was great enough to beat Mozart. 

And still, now I have similar feelings… when I watched the opera, it felt so comforting and brought up nostalgic feelings- Mozart is still unbeatable!

After 20 months without performance due to the pandemic, the York Opera returned to its first, post-covid event. The Magic Flute has the moral message and grandiosity to be worth as the company’s returning performance. It is entertaining and suitable to watch for all generations.

Picture credit: York Opera

Musical director Derek Chivers and stage director John Soper proved the justice of Mozart and the York Opera. The set design and lightning played such an important part in the performance, the scene was illustrious and accentuated but still managed not to overpower the performers. Set designer John Soper and lightning designer Eric Lund established the atmosphere for the night and created a creative environment that emphasized the performance of the actors and enchanted the audience.

The story begins when Prince Tamino is being chased by a monster. Fortunately, he is saved by three ladies, who give him a picture of princess Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of The Night. Tamino instantly falls in love with Pamina and decides to save the girl from the evil  Sarastro. With the help of the Magic Flute and bird-catcher Papageno, Tamino sets out for the adventure in the name of love.

The determined prince Tamino was played by Hamish Brown, in Pamina’s character we heard Alexandra Mather sing. David Valsamidis, who graduated with a Master in Vocal Ensemble Performance from the University of York in 2021, debuted in the role of Papageno. The famous aria of the Queen of the Night was sung by Heather Watts. Priest of the Sun, Sarastro was played by Mark Simmonds.

For the programme of their upcoming shows and more information on York Opera, see their website here.