State Opera SA
Great Hall (Freemason's Hall)
Until 24 Feb 2016

Review by Fran Edwards

Where better to produce a story with strong Masonic influences than in the Great Hall at the Freemasons? David Lampard has worked his usual magic with the set and costumes, with the added excellent lighting design from Daniel Barber. The set pieces move with ease to represent the many scenes of this opera, echoing the Masonic symbols and giving a good representation of the eclipse, which is the catalyst for the action.

As Tamino, Brenton Spiteri is a great young hero and portrays he character’s dismay and confusion well. His scenes with Nicholas Cannon are delightful, and Cannon plays Papageno with a lovely sense of fun. Naomi Hede was a charming, pure Pamina – the perfect fit for Tamino. The ladies, sung by Deborah Caddy, Rosanne Hoskins and Meran Bow, blended beautifully and presented a cheeky aspect to the opening.

The Queen of the Night was magnificently presented by Joanna Mcwaters, handling the difficult arias with ease, as she did her flowing costume. As Monostato Adam Goodburn was pure evil, his costume and makeup emphasizing the fact. His voice improves every time I hear him. Robert England was imposing a Sarastro, but as I am not really familiar with the story line it took a while for me to decide whether he was good or evil.

Karina Jay as Papagena, Jeremy Tatchell as the Speaker and many others gave strong support. All, including the unseen State Opera SA Chorus, were under the sure hand of chorus master Timothy Sexton and conductor Luke Dollman. The small but excellent orchestra was a delight to listen to.

Director David Lampard, along with assistant director and movement coach Daniela Taddeo, should be congratulated on this fresh approach to a well-loved classic, although the 50s influence in some places may be confusing.

For Mozart lovers this is well worth a visit, and if you are not a Mozart lover go to see the interesting set and lovely costumes.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)