The Three Ladies, Erika Tolano, Emmeline Booth and Hannah Carter, rescuing Tamino (Charles Hudson).

NATIONAL Opera director Peter Coleman-Wright has been busy proving that Mozart can be a lot of fun, as he puts the finishing touches to his second “pocket opera” venture, “Die Zauberflöte” (The Magic Flute), coming to the Albert Hall this weekend. 

With its larger-than-life love story, nasty ordeals by fire and water for the hero Tamino, (Charles Hudson), virtuosic arias like “Der Holle Rache” (Hell's vengeance boils in my heart) sung by the sinister Queen of the Night (Josephine Lonergan), and the antics of the comic bird-catcher Papageno (Thomas Nolte-Crimp), it’s about as entertaining an operatic romp as the fledgling company has attempted – and it was Mozart’s last opera, with music of ravishing perfection.

Fun and games for Papageno (Thomas Nolte-Crimp) and Tamino (Charles Hudson).

Coleman-Wright’s aim has been to bring to the fore the top arias of popular operas, while retaining enough of the plot to make it comprehensible to operatic newcomers. Instead of an orchestra, the company’s repetiteur, Ella Luhtasaari, will play the piano.

We suspect the production-on-a-shoestring will not run to a full-sized serpent for the opening scene, but it will have the Queen’s seductive Three Ladies – Hannah Carter, Erika Tolano and Emmeline Booth – to make up for it.

“Die Zauberflöte”, Albert Hall, 2pm and 6pm, June 27, book here.

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Ian Meikle, editor