The Magic Flute

Scottish Opera 2003/04

"Judging by the audience reaction, Scottish Opera's new production of The Magic Flute was not to everyone's taste but then it was never likely to appeal to opera-goers of a more conservative hue. For director Jonathan Moore had created a production more in keeping with a David Bowie rock concert, complete with flying spaceman and a sparkling new English translation by Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Marginally over the top it all might have been, but the result was an interpretation that was just plain fun. If ever a production was going to bring a smile to your face, then this was it. There was some splendid lighting by Bruno Poet, enhancing Rae Smith's sets but Moore sensibly relied on the words, the music and a terrific cast to bring this production to life. Moore had produced the very hip dialogue himself...this was unashamedly a production for the younger audience...

It was also a long, long way better than the last two or three insipid productions Scottish Opera have managed and someone, somewhere has opened all the doors at their Elmbank Crescent headquarters and allowed in the fresh air. Great stuff that made your heart soar!"

Nett Jones, Opera Now, September/October 2003

"Sexy dames; hunky dudes, ribald comics and stately leaders. Scottish Opera's new production of The Magic Flute has got it all.

True it won't be everybody's cup of tea... Indeed, opera purists and traditionalists have already heaped scorn upon the production. Yet what the killjoys don't reckon for is the fact that this is a cracking good night of entertainment. It is big, it is bold, it is packed full of great ideas and visual gags, and it tells what is quite a complex little story very clearly - while managing to bring many of its hidden messages without being pompous or pretentious.

It doesn't take long for director Jonathan Moore to make a pretty major statement of his radical intentions for the whole opera. After an opening motto about the Masonic four-fold path, the curtain rises to reveal die surface of the moon...As coup-de-theatres go, this one is a corker. Nor is it the last, by any means."

Thom Dibdin, The Evening News, 28 May 2003

"Jonathan Moore, producer of Scottish Opera's Magic Flute, is obviously a man with a lot of ideas. His staging of the opera began in outer space, with spacemen landing on an unĀ­named planet. It proceeded in a world of comic strip; the three ladies, voluptuous and sexy, addressed everyone as 'pal' and 'sunbeam'... And there were insights; Papageno, seeing his Papagena at last, burst into tears, and his sobbing made it hard to get the words out: 'Pa, pa, pa, pa...'"

Raymond Monette, The Independent, 21 May 2003

"At last, what we've all been waiting for - a Magic Flute set in space. And it works better than, well, Carmen: there is plenty of stargazing in Mozart's Singspiel, the moon where we start is clearly the Queen of Night's patch and unarguably alien territory for the stranded Tamino, and any imaginative attempt to tackle the mysteries and wonders of this work is welcome."

Robert Thicknesse, The Times, 19 May 2003

"...There's plenty of scope for directors and designers to give a fresh take on everything from the work's Masonic theme to its links with Commedia dell'arte. But a Magic Flute set on the Moon? Certainly, and Scottish Opera's new production is a brilliantly witty one that combines the high-tech with traditional theatre mechanics. Computer wizardry and old tricks such as people suspended on wires and the sliding-on props made for a wonderfully effective night of 'wow-that's-amazing' sights.

Director Jonathan Moore and designer Rae Smith have reinvented the scenario of The Magic Flute while remaining true to its themes and ideals.

The effect of this Flute, with its walls of fire and water, its gloriously starry skies and buildings stretching into the sky was timeless and mesmerising. The tone was perfect for an opera firmly rooted in Enlightenment values of self-discovery and respect for the individual... this is still the production of the moment, wonderfully theatrical and touching. Scottish Opera has triumphed again."

Kenneth Speirs, Mail on Sunday, 18 May 2003

"It is big. It is bold. It is packed full of great ideas and visual gags. It does not take long for Jonathan Moore to make a pretty major statement of his radical intentions for the whole opera. The curtain rises on the surface of the moon. With the overture still building an astronaut flies into view descending past the globe of the earth and flying back off into space. As coup-de-theatres go, this one is a corker. Nor is it the last by any means. A truly grand night out. Scottish opera at its formidable best."

Evening News

"Jonathan Moore's new production is a brilliantly witty one, wonderfully effective. The effect of this flute was timeless and mesmerising. The tone was perfect."

Daily Mail