Thursday 14 October 2010


Following a long but successful day at the Senedd (post to follow) I'm not sure I wanted to sit through an opera but the tickets are already bought and I fortify myself in Wetherspoons with steak and kidney pudding, chips and peas along with other better-dressed but equally frugal Mozart aficionados.

When the curtain opens on WNO's Magic Flute we smile at the usual minimalist set (it seems the Arts Council grant - I mean our taxes - all goes on the talent). It is a skyscape with doors floating in the ether - very Magritte - but moments later a 40ft long, entirely
realistic, Daliesque lobster invades the stage in pursuit of the hero Tamino.

Later we learn from cast-members in the bar that Magritte was indeed in mind - it gets more obvious as the chorus all wear bowler-hats, though maybe that also refers to the freemasonry long thought to be a barely-concealed theme of this absurd but delightful comedy.

The styling is all good fun but Mozart properly prevails in a faithful and absolutely professional production. It is a democratic piece with no one part dominating but the Swansea crowd takes cowardly and lustful Papageno, a Christopher Biggins lookalike (actually Neal Davies), to their heart, though the gorgeous Pamina (Elizabeth Watts) gets my vote.