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The Magic Flute Review

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A prince battles evil forces to rescue a princess in Kenneth Branagh's take on Mozart's opera.

★★★★★

No Phantom of the Opera, this: Kenneth Branagh has lined up a cast who can both sing and act for his take on Mozart’s opera.

Stephen Fry’s witty translation tightens up the plot, in which young soldier Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) is asked by the Queen Of The Night (Lyubov Petrova) to recover her daughter from the evil Sarastro (René Pape), but, unsurprisingly, all is not as it seems.

Loosely set during the First World War, it’s frequently camper than Christmas and terrific fun, while Sarastro’s graveside aria is spine-tingling. Yet although Branagh has done a good job of toning down the opera’s more ridiculous elements, what remains will test even the most willing opera virgin.

Although Branagh has done a good job of toning down the opera’s more ridiculous elements, what remains will test even the most willing opera virgin.

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