Articles and Reviews

‘The Magic Flute’, “The Maestro’s Brightest Colours”
Article edited by Bridget Cormack, The Australian, Monday, September 26, 2011
View the article here 

The Magic Flute’
Tutti Ensemble, State Opera et al
Opera Studio
Until 2 Oct 2011

Review by Tony Busch
Supporting live theatre in South Australia

The Magic Flute was written in the year of Mozart’s death, but not for a highbrow opera house. Rather, it was written for Emanuel Schikaneder’s (he also supplied the libretto) theatre which catered for a far more down to earth audience. It was real entertainment for real people and Mozart, I’m sure, would be delighted with this ingenious take on his masterpiece, adapted to accommodate a wide variety of talents.

The action takes place in The Circus of the Sevenfold Seal of the Sun where singers, Tutti performers and Cirkidz Live Wirez Troupe keep the action and entertainment coming thick and fast. The characters have been adapted with a generous helping of creativity and wit. Tamino (Robert Macfarlane) is a reluctant Audience Volunteer. Pamina (Naomi Hede) is the Hoop Girl whose poster he falls in love with. The Three Ladies become one Three-headed Lady (Deborah Caddy) in a marvellous piece of puppetry. The Queen of the Night (Joanna McWaters) is the deposed Head of the Circus bent on reclaiming power. Sarastro undergoes gender reassignment to become Zarastra (Jayne Hewetson) the bearded Lady and current Head of the Circus. Monostatos (Alistai Brasted) is a Knife Thrower, while Papagano (Andrew Turner) is a Clown and Papagena (Kaye Wyatt) an Acrobat.

The abridged score contains all the highlights and the new libretto by Richard Chew and Cheryl Pickering is hilarious while deftly communicating themes of acceptance, inclusion, courage and self-belief. Bravo to the band, Richard Chew on piano, Lyndon Gray on double bass and Jarrad Payne on percussion, who manage to do the impossible and adapt the score while retaining its soul.

Design by Bec Francis and lighting by Nic Mollison are also first-rate. There are highlights aplenty in all performances, musical and circus, and the portrayal of Tamino’s test to win the hand of Pamino is inspired.

Director Cheryl Pickering has achieved an amazing balancing act and delivered a genuinely entertaining show that should put a smile on anyone’s face.

‘The Magic Flute’
Review by Steve Evans, Monday, September 26, 2011
View the article here