The Magic Flute, Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, On until Saturday (June 16). Box office: 01451 830 292.
THREE cheers for the Three Ladies, Stephanie Corley, Miranda Westcott, and Lise Christensen, attendants to the Queen of the Night. They sparkled throughout their cameo appearances and caught the eye at curtain call as they each attempted to outdo each other for audience attention – all good fun.
With their black Mary Quant-style wigs, black and white half length tutus with white stockings, they spirit-lifted with antics and singing to reward conductor, Gianluca Marcianò, and orchestra leader, Katherine Gittings, for their stunning contribution from the pit. Gittings will be back to support Anthony Negus in July for Götterdämmerung – undoubtedly one of the hottest tickets this summer.
Directors may be challenged by how the Flute’s serpent and Siegfried’s dragon can be portrayed. Jenny Miller, with set designer Sophie Mosberger creates a multi-purpose vast sheet, which, with the help of off-stage air, is an ingenious way to not only portray the serpent but to produce a Monet–like watery stage setting, to act as cover for Papagena as she pursues the excellent Nicholas Merryweather (Papageno), to act as a rope to tie up miscreants and a curtain through which Tamino (Mario Sofroniou) spies his lover Pamina (Elizabeth Donovan).
Miller is in good company as Melly Still and Tom Pye use the very same technique at Glyndebourne in the current The Cunning Little Vixen for their winter forest scene.
Simple sets, clever lighting by Warren Letton, the excellent orchestra and fine individual performances - including Penelope Randall-Davis and her really good go at the horrendously challenging Queen of the Night aria - helped the new festival season off to a bright start. With the upcoming Katya Kabanova and Götterdämmerung, this is an ambitious season.
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Weather for Warwick
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North