Bath International Music Festival: The Magic Flute
Bath International Music Festival
The Magic Flute
Arranged by Joanna MacGregor, artistic director of Bath International Music Festival for the past seven years, this was the festival's finale and also Joanna's as this is her final year at the festival.
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As an innovator she certainly leaves on a high and definitely different note.
The Magic Flute is brought to the 21st century with mobile phones, laptop computers, contemporary dress and language, set in a skyscraper penthouse.
Papageno, one-time roadie to rock star Queen of the Night, has the laptop as his flute. In Johnny Herford's hands he becomes a wonderful tattooed, bandanna wearing Welsh wastrel.
As Queen of the Night, Ruth Jenkins excels with her vocal power and range, while ex-husband and villain, Sarastro, "Moneybags turning into mister nice guy," she explains as he changes from arch-capitalist to eco-warrior and world peace campaigner, is a suitably haughty Andri Bjorn Robertsson.
"Way to go," he exclaims at one point, much like Mrs Thatcher telling a scripted joke, the meaning of which she hasn't a clue. Brilliant.
But there are plenty of other jokes included in the dialogue and lyrics as the young journalist, Tamino, falls in love with the Queen's daughter Pamina and Papageno finds his girl via the internet.
The cast and orchestra are a delight, while setting this in the limited room of Komedia meant that the action overflows around the auditorium, but it works, this part pantomime, part opera production.
A suitably fabulous and fun end to the festival with a deserved standing ovation for Joanna MacGregor.