Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a mysterious hybrid of an opera. Partly spoken, partly sung and with enormous scope for nonsense, it looks easy and must be very, very difficult.

Scottish Opera’s Magic Flute at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh last night (22nd Nov) was a tour de force of theatricality and great singing.

The three ladies were sculpted into black and spangly costumes which almost deserved to be listed with the rest of the cast. The three boys were hard to hear in their first appearance as the wires for suspending them over the stage malfunctioned and they appeared on the floor, but really too far back for such immature voices. They had the opportunity to fly later. Scottish Opera have chosen six lads from the National Youth choir of Scotland and the National Boys’ choir to share the parts.

The Queen of the Night, whose battle with Sarastro, is the basis of a pretty ropey plot-line – what is it with opera? Ah, yes, the singing! – was magnificantly sung by the Japenes soprano, Mari Moriya. More costume worth going to see for its own sake and fantastic make-up completed a perfect rendition.

Richard Burkhard was an endearing and authoratative Papageno although his costume was not as wayout as some Papgenos I’ve seen.

Overall, the near-capacity audience left The Magic Flute much cheered. A wonderful pre-festive evening directed by Sir Thomas Allen and presided over by conductor, Ekhart Wycik.

Saturday 24th in Edinburgh and 29th Nov and 1st Dec in Belfast (Grand Opera House)

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