Marlena Davo

What a joyful evening! Mozart meets Pantomime in “The Magic Flirt” (oops, “Flute”), a bawdy take on this classic English-version opera, directed by Paul Carr.

Despite the modern departures from the original libretto, no-one could fail to be won over by the performances of Anthony Flaum (the prince/schoolboy Tamino), Felix Kemp (Papageno/school caretaker) and Clara Barbier Serrano (Queen of the Night/head of the PTA) in particular, with Marlena Devore as Pamina and John Savourin singing Sarastro.  

Anthony Flaum

Special mention must be made of Stuart Pendred, in fine voice as a stylish PE Teacher  and incidentally, Founder and Artistic Director of Oxford Opera Company!

“Please go – the Oxford Opera Company has been out off the boards for too Covid-long and deserves all the support it can get”

The singing was uniformly excellent, with a fabulous full cast of professional singers, supported by a wonderful Youth Chorus from schools across Oxfordshire and a fine small orchestra. READ ABOUT IT HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/the-standard-is-incredible-major-opera-names-star-in-the-magic-flute-at-oxford-playhouse-with-40-local-schoolchildren/

The staging and choreography was slick and lively, and had a firm eye on a younger audience, both on stage and in the seats in the Playhouse.

Stuart Pendred of Oxford Opera

Whether Mozart would recognise this edited version of his masterpiece, set in an “Oxfordshire School” is debatable – not much sign of magicians or Masonic humanism here – so perhaps this production is not one for the purists.

no-one could fail to be won over by the performances of Anthony Flaum, Felix Kemp and Clara Barbier Serrano

However, what the production lacks in depth, missing both the pathos and menace of the original, it makes up for in “relatability” for the children Stuart Pendred wants to entice with this feisty production.

Please go – the Oxford Opera Company has been out off the boards for too Covid-long – and deserves all the support it can get.  Tickets from £10 – an absolute bargain!

Oxford Opera Company’s Magic Flute runs until tomorrow (Sunday April 3). Tickets at https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/events/the-magic-flute

SHEILA BAILEY