Sir Thomas Allen’s five-star production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute returns to Scottish Opera in May.
But it will have a unique look, set in a spectacular world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne.
Mozart’s most inventive opera, featuring a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, sorcerers, priests and a bumbling bird-catcher, opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Saturday 4 May, and tours to Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London and Belfast.
With set and costume design by Simon Higlett, this production takes inspiration from the city of Glasgow at the height of its industrial powers, drawing on the aesthetics and ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly the work of the Hunter family and the huge scientific collections of The Hunterian Museum.
Conductor Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) is joined by Peter Gijsbertsen (La traviata 2017) as Tamino and Gemma Summerfield, First Prize winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, as Pamina. Richard Burkhard is Papageno, the role he created in the original production in 2012; Julia Sitkovetsky is Queen of the Night; James Creswell is Sarastro and Adrian Thompson is Monostatos. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, Sofia Troncoso (Opera Highlights 2018), sings the role of Papagena.
Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘Our production of The Magic Flute, first created in 2012, makes its return to the stage and to theatres around Scotland. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the rehearsal period and to the performances that follow.
‘There are many changes from our original cast, but one welcome return will be that of Richard Burkhard in the role of Papageno. He brought to the part a really brilliant personal way of playing, just as one would hope for Papageno, and our collaboration was, apart from all else, a lot of fun.
‘As for what you will see, well, if you are familiar with Glasgow and the richness of its constituent parts, then you will recognise all of the references in this show. It is a tribute by designer Simon Higlett and myself to a great Scottish city.’
There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These specially abridged performances are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator.
Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens. Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance in November 2016, with The Marriage of Figaro at Festival Theatre Edinburgh.
Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend The Magic Flute Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.
The full list of performances is:
Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA: Sat 4 May, 7.15pm, Wed 8 May, 7.15pm, Fri 10 May, 7.15pm, Sun 12 May, 3pm, Tue 14 May, 7.15pm, Thu 16 May, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance), Sat 18 May, 7.15pm. The Magic Flute Unwrapped: Thu 9 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 18 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Touch Tour, Sun 12 May, 1.45pm. The Magic Flute Audio-described performance, Sun 12 May, 3pm.
Eden Court, Inverness: Tue 21 May, 7.15pm, Thu 23 May, 7.15pm, Sat 25 May, 7.15pm. The Magic Flute Unwrapped, Fri 24 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 25 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Touch Tour, Sat 25 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Audio-described performance, Sat 25 May, 7.15pm.
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: Thu 30 May, 7.15pm, Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm. The Magic Flute Unwrapped, Fri 31 May, 6pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 1 Jun, 6pm. The Magic Flute Touch Tour, Sat 1 Jun, 6pm. The Magic Flute Audio-described performance, Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm.
Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT: Wed 5 Jun, 7.15pm, Fri 7 Jun, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance), Sun 9 Jun, 3pm, Tue 11 Jun, 7.15pm, Thu 13 Jun, 7.15pm, Sat 15 Jun, 7.15pm. The Magic Flute Unwrapped, Thu 6 Jun, 6pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 15 Jun, 6pm. The Magic Flute Touch Tour, Sun 9 Jun, 1.45pm. The Magic Flute Audio-described performance, Sun 9 Jun, 3pm.
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London, E8 1EJ: Thu 20 Jun, 7.30pm, Sat 22 Jun, 7.30pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 22 Jun, 6pm.
Belfast Grand Opera House, 2-4 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7HR: Thu 27 Jun, 7.15pm, Sat 29 Jun, 7.15pm. The Magic Flute Unwrapped, Fri 28 Jun, 6pm. The Magic Flute Pre-show talk, Sat 29 Jun, 6pm.
The Magic Flute is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.
For more details visit www.scottishopera.org.uk.