Liam Steel's marvellous new production of The Magic Flute flawlessly combines the grace and danger of this tale of deadly plots, the search for love, secret brotherhoods and trials of character and resolve.
And it does so with a strangely surreal beauty. This is largely due to Chloe Lamford’s extraordinary set that uses disembodied lampshades, fur wings ( a nod to Meret Oppenheimer?) and, at one point, a dress that cloaks the entire stage.
The result is a visual feast that perfectly evokes the sinister magic at work as Prince Tamino faces the complexities of good and evil in his quest to rescue the imprisoned princess who will be his bride. It also highlights the sheer fun of this opera and the joy of Mozart’s score.
Once again English Touring Opera, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, delivers the highest standards - no mean feat when you’re a vash-strapped company lugging three different productions around the provinces.
Mark Wilde is elegantly enjoyable as Tamino, Paula Sides is an enchanting Pamina and Daniel Grice is a joyous Papegeno. But it is Laure Meloy as the Queen of the Night who has the top notes that elicit the most admiration.