OperaUpClose’s The Magic Flute bring extraordinary dreams to the Belgrade
Fully reimagined for the 21st century, Mozart’s The Magic Flute is brought to the Belgrade Theatre for one night only this May with a brand new English libretto by acclaimed poet, author and playwright Glyn Maxwell.
Fusing classical and electronic orchestration, the Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose bring their radical, irreverent approach to bear on this innovative production, in keeping with the spirit of the master composer himself.
Invited behind the velvet rope at London’s most exclusive nightclub, Tamino doesn’t have time to stop for beggars, paparazzi, or even his girlfriend Pamina. After a blazing row, the couple head to bed, only to relive the events of the evening in dreams made extraordinary by the lateness of the hour, befuddled senses, and just a touch of magic…
First staged in Vienna in 1791 just two months before the composer’s untimely death, The Magic Flute features some of Mozart’s most famous and instantly recognizable compositions, including “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen“, better known as the Queen of the Night aria.
Following their hugely popular and critically lauded English language versions of La Bohème and Carmen, OperaUpClose now turn their hand to this much-loved flight of fancy, reinventing it for a new generation of audiences. Expect timely resonances as Maxwell’s adaptation relocates the story to the era of Trump and recessions, accompanied by bold, lively orchestration by Alex Beetschen and striking theatrical creativity from director Valentia Ceschi.
Setting his version amidst the chaos of a messy night out at a Soho club, Glyn Maxwell brings a poetic flair to the production, drawing on his extensive experience as a poet, playwright, novelist and critic. His poetry volumes The Breakage, Hide Now and Pluto have been variously shortlisted for the prestigious Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and his book, On Poetry was described by The Guardian’s Adam Newey as “the best book about poetry I’ve ever read”. His other opera libretti include The Firework Maker’s Daughter (composed by David Bruce), which was shortlisted for Best New Opera at the 2014 Olivier Awards.
Director Valentina Ceschi said: “The production feels very youthful and exciting and fresh… This whole version is basically distilling what Mozart wanted into a punchy hour and 15 minutes of fun chaos and beautiful tunes.”
Said Maxwell: “The story is timeless, or deeper than time, of darkness being supplanted or defeated by light… So I set it in the course of a night, where a modern-day couple have quarrelled and need to find their way back to their love of each other, which they do through dreams and nightmares. As light grows, love grows, from the personal and private to the love of strangers (which Christians here believed in till about 2010) and by extension grace, tolerance, openness, mercy.”
Casting for The Magic Flute includes Cliff Zammit Stevens as Tamino, Susie Buckle as Pamina, Tom Stoddard as Papageno, Felicity Buckland as Papagena, Luci Briginshaw as the Queen of the Night and Julian Debreuil as Sarastro. Lighting design is by Zoe Spurr, musical direction is by David Keefe and set and costume design is by Emma Bailey. Music is performed by Billy Marrows on guitar, Elaine Booth on reeds and Douglas Grannell on bass.
The Magic Flute shows at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry for one night only on Saturday 12 May.
Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055, or by visiting www.belgrade.co.uk, where prices are even cheaper.