Southern Opera’s production of Mozart’s whimsical and beautiful opera, recently performed at the Theatre Royal, got the full sci fi treatment complete with Star Trek screens and noises. I was bemused by the overly elaborate staging and found it overworked, with a lot of distracting gimmicks. What looked to this viewer like a bank of blue portaloos, I have since found out was a representation of Sarastro’s temple! This left me somewhat confused at times and I came away feeling I needed to read up on the opera. It now makes a lot more sense, as I’m clearer on the Masonic overtones.
Nevertheless the CSO was fantastic and Papageno (Jared Holt) and the Queen of Night (Emma Pearson) were outstanding, the Queen of the Night hitting incredibly high notes with ease and grace. The Solid Energy chorus was powerful and nothing could ruin Mozart’s glorious music. Ultimately it was a great experience.
The grand old Theatre Royal has not lost its magic for me it is always a comforting step back into the past.
For further information about this Christchurch treasure, go to their website, or there is interesting material at the library on its history.