Having played to half a million people in 22 cities around the world, The Magic Flute finally comes to Australia for the opening weekend of the 2019 Adelaide Festival.
“Artistic Masterworks” and “Crowd Pleasers” are categories that rarely intersect. Arguably, only once: in The Magic Flute. In 1791, long before anyone knew what demographics were, it crossed them all to become an instant hit and has remained so ever since.
This staging by Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade (from 1927, the company that wowed Festival audiences with Golem in 2016) is marvellous in the true sense of the word. It manages to keep Mozart’s unique coin spinning so that we never fail to appreciate either of its dazzling sides: On a musical level it is sublime but its operatically game-changing blend of live action and animation make it endlessly delightful to audiences of all ages and experience.
Drawing heavily on the imagery of 1920s cartoons (Felix the Cat, Betty Boop) and the silent films of Weimar Germany (Murnau) and Hollywood (Buster Keaton) its dark edge is reminiscent of Tim Burton but always leavened by innocent warmth and flecked with unexpected touches that are laugh out loud funny.
Book early! If there are children in your life bring them too. IT’S A KNOCKOUT.