The chorus in Carmen - a previous Oxford Opera production

Oxford Opera is bringing Mozart’s The Magic Flute to Oxford Playhouse with a cast of top class soloists and 40 local children.

Some of the country’s most exciting opera stars taking part include John Savournin, Felix Kemp, Anthony Flaum and Marlena Devoe – more commonly seen gracing the stages of the English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, alongside rising star Clara Bernier.

“There are some real premier league players in the cast” Oxford opera founder Stuart Pendred promises.

Children in rehearsals with Marlena Devoe

They will be joined by the brilliant Oxford Opera Orchestra, and a chorus of more than 40 young performers from around 10 schools in Oxfordshire.

“They bring an energy and enthusiasm to the production that is absolutely joyful,” Stuart adds. “They have been rehearsing hard since January and their dedication is absolutely amazing. It’s humbling to see. The standard is incredible.”

As if that wasn’t enough, 60 local primary school children are attending the family matinee performance as part of the Oxford City Cultural Education Partnership’s “Feeling Safe Project”, a brand new programme that provides support and help to Oxfordshire children who struggle with their mental health and wellbeing due to Covid.

Clara Bernier

“We want to give as many children as possible the chance to experience this music and make their own decision about opera,” Stuart adds. “That’s part of our vision.”

The family matinee on Saturday is a specially adapted version of the opera, reduced in length and tailored specifically to introduce children 8 years and under (and their ‘grown-ups’) to the amazing world of theatre; music; drama and story-telling through opera.   

John Savournin

“This is a hugely significant development for us as one of the core values of Oxford Opera is working with local children and students and using our platform and music to help, so it is is very exciting,” Stuart explains.

“We’re hugely excited to be bringing this truly hilarious and beautiful version of this magnificent opera to Oxford, with these world-class singers – and to be giving it our own unique twist,” Stuart adds, who is a respected singer in his own right.

The Magic Flute is the third full opera that Oxford Opera has staged at the Oxford Playhouse – following on from fabulous performances of Carmen and La Boheme in 2019 and 2020 respectively

Marlena Davoe

Oxford Opera is now also working with Oxford City Council as one of their Cultural Partners taking opera workshops to schools around the city, to help with children’s mental health.

The schools taking part include Bartholomew School, Eynsham, Cheney School, Oxford, Europa School UK, Culham, Eynsham Primary School, Matthew Arnold School, Oxford, North Hinksey Primary School, Oxford, Oxford High School, St Aloysius’ Primary School, Oxford, St Helen & St Katharine, Abingdon, St Philip & St James Primary School, Oxford, Southmoor Primary, Oxford, Windmill Primary School, Oxford.

Anthony Flaum

The Magic Flute is being performed at the Oxford Playhouse from Fri 1-3 April, including a special matinee performance for families. Tickets from £10.