Mozart’s final opera before he died in 1791 and possibly one of his most challenging, is a tale of love and of good versus evil.The opera contains some of his most beautiful music and this was evident from the first bars of music played by an efficient orchestra under the tight control of MD Sue Black.

It is claimed that the setting and time for this story could be anywhere and anytime and Director Andrew Rawle takes full advantage of that in some re-written dialogue and innovative direction that enhances the story and entertains.

A Prince and leading man Tamino (Andrew Irwin) falls in love with a portrait of Pamina (Patricia Head). Both sang and acted with great skill. Pamina has been kidnapped and if he can rescue her, Pamina’s Mother the Queen (Claire Johnson) offers her daughter’s hand in marriage.  Along the way, Tamino meets a bird catcher Papageno (Mike Faulkner) who gave us an excellent comic performance full of musicality – I could hear every word.

There was great depth in all remaining principals including Tim Johnson (Monostatos), Paul Thompson (Orator) David Coulson (Sarastro), Paul Ellis & Nick Pilborough (Bass & Tenor Priests) and to nearly stealing the show, Caroline Causier as Papagena. The three ‘Ladies’ and three ‘Genies’ and entire chorus provided good support and the whole cast were well dressed.

The set with its image of a chess board and similarity to the floor of a Masonic Temple, was simple but very effective and the lighting provided an overall lavish effect. This was a production oozing with quality.