Mozart’s The Magic Flute receives a confused and plodding update which dilutes the magic of the timeless opera.

Welsh National Opera’s The Magic Flute is currently playing at The Birmingham Hippodrome.

Mozart’s final opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) first premiered in 1791 and it continues to be performed in opera houses around the world to the present day.

Welsh National Opera (WNO) bring the popular work to Birmingham in a lacklustre staging that makes dramatic changes to Mozart’s magnificent opera which ends up robbing the show of its charm and clarity.

The staging and costumes were a surreal combination of themes from sci-fi and fantasy filmsCraig Fuller
The staging and costumes were a surreal combination of themes from sci-fi and fantasy films

The fairytale and mythic qualities of Emanuel Schikaneder’s original libretto, which deals with the powers of light and reason overcoming the forces of darkness and twisted evil, have been replaced with a bewildering narrative that requires a narrator to outline the plot of the new staging to the perplexed and yawning audience.

The new setting, with a rewritten libretto, takes Mozart’s joyous pantomime of an opera and turns it into a muddled and distracting night of boredom.

Director Daisy Evans has controversially reworked Mozart’s material – which some may find troubling in the modern era due to the changing shifts in social and political values – into a psychedelic blaze of ideas that seem too forced and out of place in Mozart’s opera.

There were times when the production looked like something out of children's television showsCraig Fuller
There were times when the production looked like something out of children’s television shows

The staging, despite having some interesting lighting, is unimaginative and falls flat and looks like an amateur school production of Harry Potter remixed with Star Wars, and the performers look uncomfortable in unflattering outfits that produced giggles in the audience.

Instead of setting the heart and mind racing with musical energy, this incoherent adaptation of The Magic Flute has the dubious power to lull you to sleep.

VERDICT★ ☆☆☆☆


The Magic Flute is now playing at The Birmingham Hippodrome until Friday 5 May

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